THE PRESENCE

NEWLY THE sun shone anew. Happy the multitude was to see again their surroundings. But where were they? A no-land. Only space and space and space. But no footprints and not a voice on the wind.

We seek the voices, we hear the silence. The multitude is faced with the choice – to turn inwards or to turn outwards. The multitude turned inwards and became a nation. Generations later, the nation turned outwards and faced the world.

Thus was the first Pride born. For the nation was too much for the world.

Let us leave the world and the nation, the multitude, the space and the silence, and look at the street. A busy street. Hawkers, traders, pedestrians, beggars, jam the sidewalks. Busses, cars, motorcycles, cram the roads.

Above them, an unsmiling face, almost but not as large as the sky, looks down guardingly upon them. The face is not the face of a loving protector, that much can be deduced from its features. It is the face of a prison warden. Emotionless and evil. Because the prison is his.

A face turns upwards. One of the people on the street has a strange sensation hard to describe. She looks up, sees the face, screams and collapses. People walk by her. Others stop. She is dead. They cross themselves, mutter prayers and walk away.

Let us go back to the nation. The nation has arisen. It is all-powerful. It runs like a well-oiled machine, a high-tec computer. It shut itself out of the world for generations. It let nothing in, not even nature. Now it is ready to face the world. It towers over the rest of the world and opposes all who seek to break away from this new sway.

Others raise their gazes too, see the face of the guardian of evil. They collapse and die too, just like the woman. But the souls of the dead have risen too, they mingle amongst the living and strengthen invisibly their resolve. And sometimes now when I look up at the giant face of the prison-guard in the dark dark clouds above us, I see a slightly worried look in his eyes. Things are going wrong. He feels it. But he cannot put his finger on it.

Why are people looking up?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

TALKING TO HERSELF

He loved her like the
Sun was about to fall down
Like lightning and thunder
Would be their eternal crown
And then when he’d had his fill he walked away
Now there she goes talking to herself
Each evening…

It hurts his soul
To see her cry
Yet he must go
He can’t explain why
The light and the darkness dwell inside his heart
So there she goes talking to herself
Each evening…

Trying to understand the demons in his heart
Trying hard to grasp what happened and then she starts
To blame herself for what she can’t explain
There she goes softly talking to herself
Each evening…

Each evening
Deep inside
Each evening
He’s suffering too
Too…

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

STILL SEEKING THE FUTURE

I see
Wavering eyes
Tied around my ankles
Tightly beaded the masquerade stumbles

The drums think it is a dance and praise on
The familiar djini pokes his feathered skull
Out of the future – here I am!
Leaden feet leading until again

We stand on the river bank…
Sorry, where exactly?
We have been singing for the boat
Since time immemorial –

Unreversedly.

The mamiwater’s melodious silence answers us

Yet our ancestors did not lie
When they reassured us that the only
Real things are the invisible ones
Who refuse to see us.

If there be no boat
How shall the river
Cross us over
Onto the promised sand?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

A MIGHTY WALK FOR A SHATTERED MIND

The Sound of Evening
Beginning to rise
Filled her ears…
They say she’s mad
She’s not bad, she’s just sad
Locked in a jigsaw puzzle
A kaleidoscopic riot of betrayed dreams
Tangled up in her shattered mind
Entangling her to that spot of evening sand
Around which she circles every
Sunset.

There is an unclear thought in her mind that occupies her
Worryingly, perpetually –
If only she could think it through, she thinks
Just once think it through…
Bound to the ungrasped thought
She circles and circles it endlessly…

I want to touch her and tell her
To just walk away from it…
It’s an illusion – walk away…

But she won’t hear.
Yesterday, after a thousand lifetimes
I passed that way
And looked again

And she’s still there… struggling
And struggling
With a thought
That almost
But just never crosses
Her mind.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

INTO THE SECOND CALM

A period of difficulty, well endured with reflection and honesty, will awaken calm within the soul. Calm brings clarity.

If you continue to rise higher while calm, you will one day break into a second world of utter confusion which jumps upon you just when your calm reaches its peak. This second confusion is the most difficult path, because it confounds your new knowledge and laughs at your newfound calm. At its height, you will lose all hope.

If, however, you remain calm, even in the heart of your confused hopelessness and hopeless confusion, something New will awaken within and overtake you, and set you free, reborn. Because from the valley the next step is upwards, provided you have not first buried yourself in dejection in the valley.

Even when there is no hope, yet continue to hope. Even when you are broken, and rebroken, yet trust in life. – And you shall enter into the Second Calm. And, come what may, nothing and nobody can take away this Calm from you, because it is the other side of pain, where spirit dies no more.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

WISDOM

Wisdom. To see the limitations of others, and see the limitations in myself which stop me from seeing the limitations in others.

Wisdom. To accommodate the faults of others, and to accommodate the faults in myself which prevent me from accommodating the faults in others.

Wisdom. To understand the confusion of others, and understand the confusion in myself which blocks me from understanding the confusion in others.

Wisdom. To fathom foolishness, and fathom that which can never fully fathom the foolishness of man.

Wisdom. To be aware of my ignorance, and of my knowledge, and of the difference between the two.

Wisdom. Lord, make me wise in Thine Ways. Amen.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.