TOUCHING A FLOWER

THERE ARE friends you know that you have stored deep within your heart. These friends are blown in by the wind, borne in by a river… a golden river. There are people you know that even if you were parted from them, you would never forget them… There are spirits which share with you a part of your wanderings through creation. Those to whom you entrust your secrets, knowledge about your faults and questions and contradictions… and you know that you are one. That you share so many similar things.

A flower. Who can touch, who can break, who can soil a flower? Who dares? A speaking bird once said to me: “Life is a forest, a jungle, full of wild trees, wild fruits and wild beasts, wild sounds and hunters and preys and the sounds of the forest. You will meet everything, each thing in its own place. Separated according to their species. But there is one thing which you will see everywhere. Always you will see a flower somewhere.

“It will appear unexpectedly from beneath hidden rocks, betwixt twisted trunks, hover above unreachable branches, glow in the rays of the moon, there will always be a flower somewhere.

“Think not that every flower you meet you are permitted to touch…

“Though they warm your heart, raise your spirits, brighten your soul, relieve your mind, inspire you and encourage you…, yet think twice before you touch a flower, consider well before you pick one off its stem. Maybe the simple pleasure that the sight of it has given you, is all it is supposed to bring you. Ask yourself: are you worth it? Will it blossom and bloom in your hands as beautifully as it blossoms and blooms on its own? Is the soil of your heart ready to keep a flower alive? If not, wait… wait for when you will be ready to touch it and plant it in your heart. There will always be one flower waiting for you…

“And should you wander into the desert of life too, your longing to see a flower is what shall see you through. Yet shall your longing not be in vain. For you bear your flower within. Always within. Watered by your love, sunned by your gratitude, rooted in your heart, it will always bloom by your side.”

And so I set forth… but I confess that her words I forgot. Many a flower that delighted my heart I snapped and inhaled and left to wither by the roadside. So crashed I triumphantly through the jungle like a King, littering the path behind me with the fading sadness of flowers I had touched and crushed and left to wither in my restless memory.

In the desert it is eerie and burns like a furnace. Thorns bleed my bare feet, one for every flower I once carelessly crushed. How I long now for a flower, for the sight of a flower again. This eternal desert which the forest has become. I remember all the flowers that litter my past. Would that I had planted just one inside my heart, in my life.

Yet there is one. Brief had been our meeting, short my sight of her. I had reached for her, but strong branches had kept her beyond my reach. The speaking bird had hovered on the branches around her, singing into her ears. Her smile was all I got, and oh how this I treasured. She alone comes back to my mind now, over and over and over again. And as I trudge on through the desert, following the bird that appears and disappears, it is the hope of seeing her again that keeps me alive.

The one flower I left unhurt is the one that shall heal my wound.

– che chidi chukwumerije.

THE PURE FLOWER

Everywhere I sought it
I sought in every land
To know if Nature’d wrought it
Anywhere ‘neath her hand
But though I searched with all my might
And though I looked forever
I’ve never seen before my sight
An ugly flower ever.

Although she’s rare to see
Or on the earth be seen
Through land or on the sea
As though she ne’er hath been
Yet when ever a Flower blossoms
When a Flower blooms
Pure beauty’s all I see in dozens
In all my heart’s rooms.

Did Heaven ever come to earth?
Did Beauty ever give birth?
The pure woman is Heaven’s flower
Heaven’s beauty, Heaven’s grace and Heaven’s power.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

FRIENDSHIP

To laugh heart to heart always. To cry heart to heart always. No heart on today’s earth can laugh completely without first crying completely, because only that Pain can unbolt a bolted heart – the pain of friendship. Friendship does not come easy, even when you think it just popped up right from the very first moment – that was merely the seed. Now you have to plant it, water it, tend it, nurture it patiently – and, hopefully, finally reap the fruit and the flower, after the pain… the pain of friendship. I will always be your friend, I vow. When it grows dark, remember my words…

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

IN OUR DESERT

amazon cover copy there is always something more 2015
BIGOTRY CONTINUES to exist upon the face of the earth, but not within its heart. And just as skin-characteristics are skin-deep, so is bigotry only surface-deep. I’m talking about the face of the earth.

But anyone who nurtures bigotry within the heart will continue to nourish it for a long time yet to come. It will not die easily. Is there hope for the flower?

Should I revert to the tales of the heart? Should I revert to the inner sequence? Should I revert to yesterday’s tenderness? The first woman? The last kiss?

Or should I continue into the desert? Should I seek a new oasis and wander after the unknown treasures of the sand? But who can open up the secrets of the sand? A flower?

The first strike was a miss. The first step was the first fall. The first sight was blinded by a pitch-fork. But there will be a second. The second is the other side of the coin.

I want to write a poem. I want to penetrate deep into the heart of the broken home, there where the spirit in us resides. We are all to one another strangers. Bridges we build, communal words we use, eyes we touch when we will, hands we give, yet remain unto one another strangers. The shared blood was poisoned aye ere we were born. The shared earth was divided already long ago and divided we stand and stare at one another across the border, the boundaries of our little egos and remain each alone. But each is but alone. Little egos. Little worlds. Little by little, if watered, like flowers, perhaps, we grow.

The secrets of the sand, approaching, covering up our footsteps. Hey, I wrote this poem before, when I was young. But if I was young then, what am I now, older or younger? For the first poem was the greater and the latter flow gropes for reconnection with the source that thundered out of the young heart of the finalised decision. Seen once. Pondered once. Grasped once. Perceived once. Decided once. At the start of the journey. And everything else is just the hanging on, the wondering, the new search. We have found but have not yet reached the Goal. We are still on the path. Believing in the flower.

This is what I would like to give to you, a flower in the desert. Do not perhaps think that the Desert is more powerful than the flower. Nay. There you would err. But treasure and protect the flower. Water it anywhere you see it. For the flower alone, of all the forces in the universe, can subdue the Desert.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

Taken from my collection of thoughts and stories: “There Is Always Something More.”