THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE

TWO MEN in search of fortune.

Said the first:
“I will stay and farm my father’s land!”

Said the second:
“I will go and find the Wheel of Fortune, and I will turn it in my direction, and I shall possess it and I shall wield it, and I shall be a controller of happenings, a decider of destinies.”

Said the first:
“You will come back and beg me for a little plot of land on which to farm.”

Said the second:
“You will seek me and plead with me to turn your fortunes around with the Wheel of Fortune.”

Said the first:
“You cannot find the Wheel of Fortune. It is not a physical thing that can be grasped with the hand or seen with the eye. It is a power which started as a concept. It is everywhere.”

Said the second:
“It is a power which started as a concept and ended up as a wheel, a physical wheel that can be grasped with the hand and seen with the eye. I will find it and I will place a firm hold on it. It shall be mine. The Wheel of Fortune. Fortune!”

Said the Spirit of Fortune:
“The sooner you start, the better.”

The years have gone by and still he seeks. Through fortune and misfortune, through pleasure and pain, he seeks the wheel of fortune, that he may become a controller of happenings, a decider of destinies.

Said the first:
“The years have passed. Fortune, which smiled at me in the first few years, frowns now upon me. The harvest is meager. The earth sits hard upon me. Where is my friend who went to seek the Wheel of Fortune? I must find him. He will surely turn the wheel in my favour, and the winds shall turn in kind.”

Said the second:
“The years have passed. My wandering feet thirst for rest, my restless heart for peace. I have searched everywhere, in vain. I must return to my friend. Surely he will find for me a little plot of land where I can seek my fortune and fulfil my destiny.”

Said the Spirit of Fortune to the first:
“The sooner you go, the better.”

Said the Spirit of Fortune to the second:
“The sooner you return, the better.”

They met again upon the Highway at the halfway point between the going and the returning.

Said the first:
“My friend, have you found the Wheel of Fortune now? For you must turn it my way. The soil is unyielding, the farm is fruitless.”

Said the second:
“No, I have not found the wheel of fortune and was just on my way to you, that you may find me a little of your land where I may seek my fortune, for the road grows weary beneath my feet.”

Said the first:
“But you assured me that the Wheel of Fortune is a findable physical thing.”

Said the second:
“And you assured me that the land would one day support both of us!”

Said the first:
“The land is a deceiver, now I know. It is the whore of fortune and his worthless plaything! I shall go now and find the Wheel of Fortune. Then shall I own the land.”

Said the second:
“Oh, my friend, but you err. Fortune has no wheel. Myths have given birth to this belief. The land is the key to fortune. The land is the wheel of fortune. Possess the land and you have grasped fortune’s wheel.”

Said the first:
“I have turned the land several times, sometimes with my pitchfork, other times with a multitude of other implements such as my shovel, my hoe and my fingers, but not once did my fortune lastingly turn, although I turned the earth repeatedly. Sometimes the winds turned, briefly, but fortune never really. Thus I act with full clarity today. You can have the land if you wish. I shall find the Wheel of Fortune and I shall posess it and I shall wield it and I shall be a controller of happenings, a decider of destinies.”

Said the second:
“When you return to me, begging me to return your father’s land to you, I shall not do so. For it is now mine! Bear this in mind.”

Said the first:
“When you come to me, pleading with me to turn the Wheel of Fortune in your favour, I shall not do so! I shall abandon you to your fate. Bear this in mind.”

Said the second:
“Oh, you fool, why will you not come that we may together plough the land?! Two pairs of hands will soften its heart. There is no physical Wheel of Fortune! It is a power that began as a concept.”

Said the first:
“Fortune is a person. He bears a face and owns a wheel. I shall find him and I shall take the wheel from him. Then shall I turn the wheel against him. My wheel.”

Said the Spirit of Fortune to both:
“The earlier you proceed, the better.”

The years passed by like the wind, and old age crept upon them. The land softened and yielded rich harvests, but Fortune and his wheel refused to be found.

Said the first:
“I am old and grey. My days are numbered, my memories rich and poor. I shall return to my father’s land and there shall I lay down, for I do not want to die upon the road.”

Said the second:
I am old and grey. My days are numbered, my memories many and few. I shall set off again after the Wheel of Fortune, that I may turn it and prolong my life and reactivate the youth in me. If I die now, all is lost and I shall be buried upon another man’s land. But if Fortune, who has smiled at me through the land, permits me now to find his wheel, then I shall change the course of my future.”

Said the Spirit Fortune to the first:
“Hurry, hurry, time is.”

Said the Spirit of Fortune to the second:
“Hurry, hurry, time is.”

Their paths crossed again, this time at the junction that leads everybody on.

Said the first:
“Why are you here? Have you not mastered the land which for you is the wheel of fortune?”

Said the second:
“I am tired of you. Please, move out of my way. Your father’s land is there. You can have it if you wish. Die on it; you are old enough for that now. I will have nothing to do with it anymore. It has brought me nothing but comfort, and prevented me from seeking the Wheel of Fortune, which was the ardent spiritual goal of my youth! Look at me: now I am an old man.”

Said the first:
“Then you shall die upon the road. I hope somebody finds you and buries you. I shall conclude my earthly wanderings there where I belong.”

Said the second:
“Rest in peace. Adieu.”

And then they parted ways, never to meet again upon the earth.

Said Fortune:
“Another twist, another turn,
And life goes on…
If they ask, or seek, or yearn
All I can do is turn and point them on…
The path they must go themselves –
The change they must work themselves
The moment they must grasp themselves –
The seeds of fortune they must sow themselves –
I am just a referee…

“Though men pass me by a thousand times
Never do they recognise me;
Nor is it necessary, as long as they heed
The Inner Voice in them that speaks to me.

“For I must obey, I must obey…
And place what they ask for upon their way.”

—–

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

THE CAGE

Stony faces
Weak arms
Biggest Guns
Emptiness.

God has turned His Face Away!
Man at Mercy of the dark
Which virgins have oiled
Their lamps?

Empty streets – stoned
Cold overnight
Sleep of death
Who is beating my heart?

Technology will cure nothing!
E-speed all the faster to communicate
Emptiness and loneliness
From me to you, you to me.

– che chidi chukwumerije.

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.

HARD TO GRASP

ONCE UPON a time, a man woke up and gazed upon a thought hanging in the air above his bed.

And the longer he looked at it, the more it confused him. And when he looked away, he forgot it.

Through the day it disturbed him, a memory he was trying to remember, but could not remember what he was trying to remember. But this he remembered: I am not who I think I am.

So this thought – I am not who I think I am – stayed with him for many hours, each as long as a decade, as he tried to fathom its meaning. Verily, it became his very name. His very aim.

Many hearts. In which one lies the answer? So he broke them open and left them behind, ravaged, the sought unfound.

He is written about in the books of men. His character has been copied and reproduced in stories down the ages – the raging, ravaging beast that consumes hearts and upturns nations. In truth he is a tireless seeker, and always giving. In shrouded truth. Love and peace cloaked in battle and tears. Shredding hearts to pieces with merciless thirst. How many times has he altered history, chasing the mirror? Thus has his troublesome picture been painted before him repeatedly. Thus too does he see himself, hours later.

But all I want is to find the key. Burning Flame, you are not who you THINK you are. This thought nags in him. Remember.

I am a warrior. No.

I am a lover. No.

You are a bridge. Just be.

Just be.

There! There it is again, the morning-thought, hanging once more in the sky above his mind. Hard to grasp:

Just be.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

BECAUSE THE CROSS IS LOST

Never look too deep into another person’s eyes
Never follow far the trade another person plies
Never question hard the words another person says
Never study long the games another person plays

Never think a king has all it takes to be a king
Never think a singer always has a song to sing
Never think a warrior has a warrior-heart in him
Never think a woman has true purity within

Never expect that your friend considers you their friend
Never expect that your guard will guard you to the end
Never expect that your secrets will be safe with me
Never expect that you can honour your vows truly

Because, my brother, man has turned into a beast of late
Because, my sister, yesterday we wandered out a gate
Because, my dear friend, there’s a new colour surrounding us
Because, my friend, people of planet earth have lost the Cross.

– 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.

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.