MOTHER

Happy 70th Birthday to my dear

MOTHER

If heaven were but a grain
Of those arms on which I was once lain
And only a mere faint echo
Of that inspiration which has become my life-long shadow
Then claim me kiss of death
That upon your hearth
Mother Again will be my first breath
And I’ll never crave rebirth.

It is between Scylla and Charibdis
For me to start to describe what it is
To eternity in the warmth of a bossom
And the gentle resourcefulness of a flower in blossom
So comforting and caring
So loving and true
This comes straight from my heart:
Mother, I love you.

Che Chidi Chukwumerije
1990.

I wrote this poem for my mother when I was 16. Today, almost three decades later, the words still hold true.

HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY, MUM.

FAMILY

Is it those that smile at you
Or those that frown at you?

Is it those with the same blood
flowing through their veins
Or those with the same thoughts
springing from their hearts?

Is it those who want nothing from you
even when they’re there
Or those who always want something from you
even when they’re not there?

Is it really a bound tree
With invisible tangled-up roots?
Or is it an open sea
Rolling freely in all directions?

Does the departed soul really stop and turn back
Or does it hurry away into another life?
Are all those who call themselves family
There to bind or to free each other?

Is protection sometimes limitation?
Is liberation sometimes abandonment?
Is a kiss sometimes an embracing of betrayal?
Is severity sometimes an anchorage of love?

Only the sincere should read your inner book.
Only the sincere should read your inner book.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

INTIMACY

How many people live in
Your household?
Just you and your partner and
Perhaps your children too?
Love children of all types.

Or do your friends too
Live with you there?
And have your parents and families too
Openly or secretly moved in and
Joined in your decision making?
And are strangers the ears of
Your intimacy?
And is the world with you in
Your privacy?

And yet you continue to wonder
What went wrong on the
Threshold to Paradise
And where did the intimate home go?

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.