BOYS TO MEN

The older I get,
The more I miss my father.
The more knowing I grow,
The more I miss him.
The more I know him.
The more I understand him.
We live life forwards,
But understand life backwards.
When it‘s too late to change anything,
That’s when we understand everything.
The young shall grow.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije
(I just feel like remembering today)

CONSTANT CRY

He lived with us very briefly
When I was still a child
My father’s elder brother

When we prayed before our meals
And made the sign of the cross
He teased us, Protestants, about having gone Catholic

When he shaved in the morning
He explained to us the mysterious science
Of shaving stick, cream and blade

Other than that he didn’t talk much
A quiet quiet quiet man
Hurt no-one, thoughtfully kept to himself

Very different from the others
Never preached, never argued, never moralised
Never scolded, just silently observed

Three decades have passed
Rarely our paths ever crossed again
A short Hello each time, nothing more

I’m still trying to understand
The pain I’ve felt all morning today
Since I heard of Uncle Joe’s death

It doesn’t make sense
Someone I hardly knew
Just a few childhood memories

Just a few memories
That remind me of a time
Rich in memories and childlike insight

And a few memories
Of a quiet adult who never found a voice
In a culture of big egos, loud voices and aggression

His silence was louder, calmer, more lasting
So deep that only his death
Would open the deep wound of memory in my heart

His middle name was Ahamefula
Meaning “May my name not get lost” –
No, dear Uncle, it will not.

In loving memory of
Joseph Ahamefula Chukwumerije
1935 – 2013

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

REFLECTIONS ON TRANSITION

The earth is the mother
And the physical body the womb
In which the soul incubates and grows
Before birth into the beyond.

Each time we on earth are born
We have but been sunk
As a seed into a surrogate mother’s womb
To grow there a little strong.

Death is but the midwife
Dying the throes of labour and pain
Someone misses you each time you are born
Something receives you back at death again.

And all the things you did on earth
Shall be as a dream in the womb
So heed your spirit even while in the flesh
For it alone remembers its home.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

EYES ON THE BALL

Up the road a few trees beckon
A moment of shade on a hot sunny day
If I stop and seek here refuge
I’ll miss my appointment at the end of my way
For my path is not my goal.

No thing of beauty will hold me down
No period of quiet will slow me down
No place of peace will hold me back
No woman, no wine, no work, no glory will change my story
For the path is not the goal, no matter what they say.

– che chidi chukwumerije.

GUIDANCE

There is a certain guidance
In our lives…
Birth was not the beginning
Death is not the end
If you remembered your beginning
You would understand why
Your path is the way it is
And why your end will be
The way it’s going to be…

There is a certain guidance
In our lives…
The inner voice has something to say
Echo of Creation’s prod
You do not heed your inner voice
Because you do not know
What you are supposed to be
You are confused by what you see
And cling to the wrong thoughts…

There is a certain guidance
Anchored in your inner voice…
You have to go the whole path
Only then will you reach
The end of your suffering
The beginning of your joy.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije