YOUNG AND OLD

Suffer not the young with belief in their ignorance
Thinking only the old can with wisdom be soaked
Watch: and see kids give to hidden truths substance
For what is a child but an adult cloaked

And seek not in the old for the seat of all staleness
Sure that, with youth passed, all vigour is lost
Look past the frame at a quicker, higher freshness
For what is an adult but a child unveiled

The child is the parent of the out-born adult
The adult is the parent of the in-born child
For up looks the earthling and up looks the moonling
And each sees nothing but the other in the skies

So suffer not greatness with the label of complexity
Nor suffer ordinariness with the verdict of the rejected
For where the great and the ordinary meet, simplicity
Is born, adult and child unite, and Perfection is reflected.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

YOU WILL NOT SEE THE SUN YET

After the Still of the Night, if you are listening, you will notice that the birds have begun to twitter, the dogs have started to bark, the cocks to crow. Looking out the window, you will notice that the sky is a tinge less dark and the stars and moon, though clearly visible still, strangely are fast fading too. You will not see the sun yet, but a stranger within you will tell you that the sun is stirring somewhere over an eastern horizon, and the world is waiting with a heart full of wonder, holding its breath, and every yawn is an awakening not a retiring. A quiet energy begins to brew, like a yearning.

Opening your heart, you will perceive that the heavenly song, echoing still on within you, retreating, has faded quietly quietly away again. And, your open heart still open, you will perceive that the harsher vibrations of an embattled intellectual species, human by name, are surging out once more – through windows, doors, walls and hearts and reawakening chaotic minds, through opening unseeing eyes and resettling restless souls, bodies crashing densely out of bed, self-locked plans and plots in mind, they prepare to explode upon the planet, yes, ready and about to punish a guiltless world again with another day of desperate madness starting now just when nature and the natural world would so deeply like to smile the smile of dawn.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

HE WAS A WEIGHTLIFTER

A monster of a man
World on his shoulders
Yet fragile is his heart
Go easy on him

He will lift world records
With muscle-rippling ease
But a heavy heart, a broken heart
Will weigh him down

His ego is no bigger than yours
And when he cuddles his little baby
His arms are just as gentle
Trembling hands, subtle fingers

He was a weightlifter
Now he’s down, leaden of heart –
Who will be the one to
Stroke his head and gently lift him up?

He is light as a feather if you ease his pain
Easy like a Sunday morning
Will melt in your hands like butter
Fly with you to the midnight moon, effortlessly.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

SHE WAS A WEIGHTLIFTER

She was a weightlifter
They found it unseemly
But she was a shape-shifter
Their disdain was a lighter burden to bear
Than her fate.

Slum lady. Carried mud and bricks
Bore stones and sticks
Firewood, rusted water in weeping baskets
The stretch marks of impatient thirsty men
Bunched up her muscles.

Owned by all, never owned a thing
The madams’ slaps, the masters’ secrets
Nothing was too heavy a load to carry
To snatch, to clean, to jerk off –
Each jerk. Very ordinary.

Today, when she steps out unto the mat
Under the lights, there you see
Sunset in one eye, sunrise in the other –
It’s not heavy weights she’s lifting
She’s carrying hope.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

MASKING MASKS

What you see is but a mask, not a face, not the true face, but a mask, a facade, masking the first mask, the true mask which once upon a time was the face of a human soul. But now it’s a mask, the real mask, masking nothing again but emptiness. The mask becomes the life, the life becomes the mask, masking everything, but unable to mask our emptiness.

So when you finally succeed in unmasking one, it would do you good to bear in mind that the face you discover underneath is again nothing but another mask. And you keep unmasking them, one mask after another, one lost dream after another, one tomb after another.. and all you see are masks, masking masks, round and round the mulberry bush. And when you finally begin to ponder and wonder: But where then is the human, the wearer of all these masks? Where are we? What are the masks hiding, then, if all we encounter are masks?…

Then, dear friend, you must understand that the ugliest of all these masks is now the human being himself, and what we are hiding is the fact that we have lost our true face forever.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

I MET AND LEFT A MOUNTAIN

There you see her, over yonder, bathed in beauty and love… it is the beautiful mountain which I once peaked – wild and calm, primitive and yet new and fresh, a restorative to my battered soul.

But when it was time to move, I discovered that I could not take the beautiful mountain along with me, however hard I tried; so I left her behind and journeyed on. Yet, strange to say, with each step away from her that I take, she comes more alive, grows bigger and bigger within my heart – because when I left her behind me to find the Tomorrow Mountain;… when I forsook her for to seek the next peak;… I took her along. But if I had stayed with her, then in truth I would have departed from her. And, tomorrow, when I crown a new beautiful mountain, she will also be there, for all true mountains unite at every distant new peak again.

It is hard to explain in words the things which we harbour inside of us. I too try and try, but ever and again I fall short of fulfilment. Why? Where did I go wrong?

Tomorrow is the only friend I have.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

GOODBYE – WELCOME

ONCE UPON A time three ants ran across a wall. They all got crushed by the same hand and died. The hand put itself into food and fed the mouth, and the owner of hand and mouth died because the ants were rare and poisonous. Those who buried the corpse fell ill and died too because the poison was spreading. Nobody buried them. Birds of prey fed on them and later fell down dead from the sky. Goats and cows fed on the grass near the dead birds and, before they died, men drank of their milk; the goats and cows died and the disease was back in the lives of men.

People were dying left and right everyday. From where had this unknown disease come? Where was it headed? Would it move on and leave us alone or would it stay or would it take us along?

But there was a breed of people who did not die, against whom the poison held no sting, in whose land the power of the disease was broken. And all those who knew, or found, and walked the way into their land, this inner state of being, overcame the death that lives through our folly.

Goodbye.

Welcome.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

ALL THE THINGS THAT THE WORDS DO NOT SAY

I wish I were a painter, to draw the pictures and paint the concepts that words cannot hold – my words. I believe there are greater poets now and ever, better writers, greater wordists, because I’ve tried and tried but still I’ve not succeeded in telling you what I know. I cannot form it in words, I cannot form it in thoughts, I just know it and understand that it is the world of things which the words have never said.

You cannot tell a woman that you love her. The moment you say it, it is gone. You can tell a man the truth, but you cannot tell him what the truth is – only he must find it out for himself one day. You cannot describe beauty in words. Even the beauty of a beautiful poem cannot be put into poetry again. You did it without thinking – and the moment you started thinking, you did not see it again.

Think a little – little thoughts…

A picture is still worth a thousand and one words. A woman wounded me mortally, yet try as I did, I could not explain in words what she did, and yet I know it Clearly.

You can never change anybody but yourself, because you are the one person to whom you can speak without words, always. And once there is truth, then there is nothing more to say. You can only say the truth, my brother, but you cannot make anybody understand. But, take heart… silence teaches the last lesson finally finally finally finally.

All the things that the words do not say, silence says always.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.