They say I was born rich
So nobody nobody nobody
Wipes my tears when I weep
Not my rich father
Nor my poor mother
Not my sister, not my brother
Not my society or any other
Only my own hands
Only my own hands
Gonna wipe my own tears
I’ve learnt my lesson
Gonna be my own person
Lordy, I’m gonna be my own person

They say I was born gifted
So nobody nobody nobody
Feeds me when I’m down and hungry
Not my father who doesn’t understand me
Nor my mother who overrates me
Not my sister, not my brother though they love me
But they’ll never never know me

If you want to know humanity
Look down when you’re up
And look up when you’re down
And pray
To never get caught in the middle
The middle pays for the poor’s pains
And the rich’s gains
And goes to bed empty-handed on an empty stomach
Hungry for work that really pays the needed holidays
I’ve learnt my lesson
Lordy, I’m gonna be my own person.

They say I was born poor
So I have no right to share in the fruits of others’ labour
I should use my own gifts
And I should be grateful for every little favor
Favour is the taste of their flavour
But a drowning man’s got no choice
Truth and irony – they are my voice
That’s why nobody understands us.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije


A foolish student
Will one day become a wise teacher
An unyielding sinner
Will one day become a moving preacher

The gap that yawns in you today
Will be filled by the pain of growth
Perfection and Imperfection may look like opposites
But when they arise in you, embrace them both

Because you don’t know which is which
Who is really poor and who is really rich.

– che chidi chukwumerije.


A smile, a wave, from where did it come?
From beyond the earth, or heaven, or where?
We feel it, we see it, reflect it here from
And spread it the earth round, here there, everywhere

Blessed be they who work in the field
Who work with their hands in the soil
Blessed be they who, yield after yield
And season on season yet toil.

The end, the start, the middle of work
Like fishers at sea, unceasing, we roll
Like all true handworkers who never ever shrink
The call and the urging perceived in the soul

Blessed be they who work in the field
Who link man and nature on earth
Blessed be they, in them doth life shield
The true future waiting for birth.

– che chidi chukwumerije.


They shrink away instinctively
From the poor
As though poverty were a disease

But even faster they
Avert their thought-sprinkled eyes
Nobody wants to see Shame
The shame mirrored within

Who is ashamed of whom?
Of what?
The rich is ashamed for being rich
The poor is ashamed for being poor

They both are ashamed of being
In the company of each other
One hopes the tides will turn
One fears the tides will turn.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.


When a gun shouts
It sounds like a whip on crack
So why are you laying that wound
On your brother,

You have none other than
The last one you just buried
Those graves are not for the brave
Your brother’s life is all you have,

Soldier soldier don’t shoot
Fingerfood for thought is trigger for the unhappy
A life in exchange for a shot
And you call that a fair deal?
Poor substitute.

But they say, look here
We don’t like all these heavy words.
Give us laughter, give us comfort, give us food
Give us pride, give us a shining ring
Or, if you can, give us hope.

Someone has to get up
Someone has to get up first.



They can’t read
But they can read

The signs on the wall
They can read between the lines
When the educated are talking
They can read your thoughts
In your eyes

When you’re lying to them
They just don’t have the words
To explain that all they need
Is a seed of true knowledge planted
Into their minds when they were young.

Someone has to walk ahead
When others are looking
For someone to follow.
How many generations will fall like
Autumn leaves, wasted beauty?



They are nice masters
In this regard she is lucky, I guess
They make her feel at home

When she cooks and cleans
Sings to the baby, feeds the dogs
And the cats and is allowed to watch TV

But when she gets home in the evening
Without electricity, it’s a marvel to her
In the midst of her poverty, to see the joy
In her family’s eyes and to be at home again.