ALL OR NOTHING

The entire I gave
While smallness was all
She ever wanted.
But the rest of me thirsts too.

When frivolity was laughing
At its own shadow
I warned
That my heart was dripping…

When superficiality was doing the maths
Around its own tunnel vision
I insisted
My heart is dripping out…

When cunning was blind to the metaphor
Of its own despair
I fell silent
And listened to the sound of bleeding feet

Walking away.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

LAKE SPIRIT

My heart weeps, a baby
Another mountain stream
Seeking a lake
After which it longs, a Lover
Longing for completion
During the course of a life-long journey
Into the eternal sea.

My heart cries for that presence
That was his quiet audience
On a walk across a Valley
In a Cumbrian mystery –

Spirit, I know you can move
Through time and space. Find me, do,
Meet me, be with me, deeply,
No matter where I wander
Or rest my head at night – stay close, meander
Like a melody in my Soul…

I’ve run out of control
Searching for my Goal.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

A BEND IN THE ROAD BETWEEN GRASMERE AND RYDAL

Lake Grasmere

My heart won’t stop beating
The urge to remember
A certain curve of the road
That leads out of Grasmere
Towards Rydal
Where the motor road and the lake
Part the wanderer’s feet
Step upon an earthen path that shall
Unhurrying though the trees
Curve the curving lake into the little bridge
At the lake’s dove tail, brought us
To the shore at the foot of a hill
Where, turning, we face
Far across Grasmere lake
The enchanting rough and tumble
Chained Cumbrian hills…

Like a worried teacher
Anxious that the fleeting pupil
Fully absorb what he, left alone
Must one day on his own remember
Drawn out of the depths of a retentive heart
That wasn’t deaf and blind
When it wandered this path, admiring nature
With such peculiar urgency does this curve in the road
Where the road and the lake separate
And the woods begin, stand
Before my inner eye
Like an evening star long after the Sun has died…
A trigger, for when I focus
On that turn of the road, I see again
The rest of the walk
That followed it
Continues to follow me.

A familiar friend
A giving, undemanding lover
A memory already more precious
Than Silver and Gold.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.
(Cumbrian Lines: Poems inspired by the Lake District)

ABOMINATION

My feet are stepping on me
My souls are brutalised
My grass is Thorn, apart

Strangers
Are laughing in glee
But my children do not understand

It is the foolish lizard
Who nods along wisely
To the snake’s slithering sermon

A child slaps his father
And corrects him
Did you hear the sky fall down?

Are you not ashamed?
If it is wisdom,
Why is it vestigial?

A short tree, shorter than me
Has peed on me –
Can I take it like a man?

– 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.

THROUGH CHEQUERED FIELDS

There’s a woman I met
When the night was dark and long
And she walked, she walked along
Alongside me…

And she walked and walked with me
Through fields of chequered thoughts
And she said, she said everyday to me:
We belong together…

Together, wherever you go
Together, wherever you are
Together, however life fares
Together we walk
Where fears are hard to hide
She walks within my heart, golden torch bearer
And love forever mine.

I say it everyday to her:
Thank you, Love
But all she does, when all is grey
Is walk, she walks within my heart.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.