DISHARMONY

There came a time in my life when I prayed to die. Not because I had no food to eat, but because I had no gratitude with which to eat the food. Not because I had no bed on which to rest, but because I had no rest to place upon the bed. Not because I had no one to talk to, but because I had no friendliness to offer. Not because I loved death, but because I hated life.

Then I met a journeyman inside my soul, full of humility, laughter and ordinariness. And of the boisterous acceptance of the reality of things.

I am still trying to fathom this journeyman, to understand who he is; to come to grips with the simple realities of everyday life, like everyone else also does, none of whom is less weary of the toil than I am.

To become a man, Nigerians say, is not the job of one day. It requires time. Think I not that only I long for Home – every other Wanderer does so as well. Every.

Mayhaps if we made the Earth a better place, the journey would not be so unbearable afterall. Or what sayest thou?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

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THE DREAMER

Sometimes it seems
As though the valley were the
Mountain-peak,
The mountain-peak the valley

Sometimes it seems
That to arrive at the valley
I must first arrive at the mountain-peak
And, sometimes, to arrive
At the mountain-peak, I must
Arrive at the valley

Which is the valley
Which the mountain and
Which the peak? –

Sometimes, Baby, it seems
As though to find you I must leave you…
And sometimes it seems as though
When I want to leave you
I’ll only end up again by your side

Sometimes, when I am Dreaming
I think I am awake –
But I have never once thought myself a dreamer,
Not even while I dreamt.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

THE GIRL WHO SAW TRUTH

There was a girl
Who read the story of the Wild-Horse Mountain
And who then went to find
The writer of the story
And question him thus:

GIRL:
Is this story true, of the lady who went to the Island of Wild-Horse Mountain and found the winged horses?

POET:
Yes, it is true.

GIRL:
Really?

POET:
Truly.

GIRL:
How do you know?

POET:
Because after the lady had visited the Land of Tomorrow awhile with Sram, he flew her in the night back home to our land again, and the next morning she told us the story…

GIRL:
What happened next?

POET:
Well, nobody believed her… except I. I did.

GIRL:
But why?

POET:
Why did I believe her?

GIRL:
No. Why did nobody else believe her?

POET:
Well… because they searched for proofs… and found none, at least none that made any sense to our minds. Upon hearing her story, we all sailed over to the Island of Wild-Horse Mountain, to see if we could corroborate her story. Also the other six people were still missing and we wanted to find them. But we found Nothing. No horses, no green valley, no horse-prints in the ground, anywhere, and no bodies… not the bodies of the six missing people, or bones, clothes, shoes, bags, articles, anything! All we saw, on the shore of the desolate, rocky island, was a beached boat. So, the people said she was mad. They came up with the theory that she had run mad and killed her friends at sea, or she had lost her friends at sea, which in turn had driven her crazy…

GIRL:
What?!

POET:
Yes, indeed. In the end, they put her in an asylum, where she finally died…

GIRL (sobbing):
What country is this wicked place?

POET:
Oh, it’s the country in which I live. My country.

GIRL:
What’s the name of your country then?

POET:
It is called “The Land of Modern Minds”.

GIRL:
The Land of Modern Minds? I have never heard of this country.

POET:
When you grow up, you will ear a lot of it. You will live there too.

GIRL:
Never! Never!

POET:
(smiles and says nothing)

GIRL (still weeping):
Oh, that poor lady! Killed for saying the truth; such an exhilarating, new, promising truth too. But… but… but is there a possibility that… that she maybe just had a dream?…

POET (smiling):
The same possibility that, right now, you are also dreaming.

GIRL:
But I am not dreaming!

POET:
You can only assume that until you Awake…

GIRL (after a pause… thoughtfully):
Thank you, Poet, for talking to me.

POET:
Don’t you want to know what happened to the lady after she died?

GIRL?
After? But no. It does not matter, does it?

POET:
But, yes, it does matter. When people die, they start to live…

GIRL:
Is this the truth?

POET:
Yes, dear Lady, it is.

GIRL:
So, are we dead now?

POET:
We are Partly Asleep.

GIRL:
I believe you, Sram. Please, forsake me not…

POET:
That I will Never do!!!

Then they embraced, and did weep
And woke up each
Gently from their deep sleep
On opposite sides of the world.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

DROWSY

My eyelids are falling
Like felled trees in the forest
My words are milky like drunken clouds
My breathing is slow and heavy like
A market woman’s feet in the evening

I am sleepy, drowsy, swimming and
I am about to fall awake –
Do you think I’m dreaming right now?
I can’t tell the difference
Do I write poems in my dreams

And forget when I awake?
The dream is the poem, a poem is a dream
I must leave you behind in the dream now, my love
Where my words will live on while
I wake asleep in the morning, in the morning.

– CHE CHIDI CHUKWUMERIJE.