THE MAN-CHILD … (Easter intuitions)

ONCE, AS I stood outside my house early one dawn, I saw the man-child playing in front of my door.

I called to him:

Child of Creation! What brings you here?

He turned around, looked into my eyes with his bright, warming eyes.

I came to visit the world, he said, to learn its ways and woes.

I left my family and people, and went to the man-child, vowing to protect him from evil men. He, however, did not understand my vow, for he was yet to understand evil men.

And so we set off together, to learn him the world.

We first came across the weary and the poor, and the man-child smiled at them; and his smile, like the sun, melted their sorrows away. He told them stories of life in the higher realms of creation; and his stories, like gentle rain and cool breezes, calmed them and made them sleep, peacefully.

As we journeyed on, the man-child grew into an adolescent. Then we came across the entertainers and singers. He joined them and began to sing with them. That was the first time I noticed that little thing which would one day lead to much sorrow. It was obvious that the man-child was a better entertainer, and soon the others became jealous. But because he was still something of a boy, it would have seemed very foolish if they had expressed these feelings openly. So instead they said that he was an adolescent and should not be with men. They drove him away. As he walked away, I saw confusion mixed with sadness in his eyes, and I did my best to distract him from his inner pain.

Meanwhile the man-child grew into a youth and we came across the workers and the farmers. The youth asked for a chance to work, got it. But his work was the most beautiful and soon he became the recipient of the majority of the customers. The fruit of his farm was also the richest, and in no time more and more of the market-visitors came buying from him. The other workers and farmers grew angry, envious. And they planned against him; and, going to the scholars and the lawmakers, they bore false witness against him.

So the scholars and lawmakers summoned him and he explained his soul, whereupon it became apparent that he was innocent and it was the others who had lied. He became a hero.

By now he had grown into a man, and the scholars and lawmakers bid him stay with them for they perceived a keen intelligence behind his luminous eyes.

He consented, and stayed. But in no time at all, it became clear that the scholars were ignorant and the lawmakers themselves lawbreakers, because the man-child’s wisdom was like a bright light that illumined all inherent defects, much to the displeasure of the scholars and lawmakers. If it became apparent to all that he was wiser than they, that would be the end of their position of prominence and their status. So they promulgated a law deliberately designed to ensnare him, through which they arrested him for being a stranger and a deceiver.

But before they could sentence him to his punishment, I ran ahead to the elders and the custodians of truth, before whom I laid down the entire matter.

All parties were summoned.

I remember that day clearly. Everybody was sitted except the man-child. He stood in their middle and he was no more a child, but a man. His lips were formed into a perpetual, if subtle, half-smile, interrupted by lines of sorrow and a slight furrow on his forehead that both told more than the bitterest words would. Tears ran down my cheeks as I saw what the world had done to the beautiful, innocent child of creation.

Presiding over the sitting was the Prince of the Land, their highest authority. He too summoned himself to the sitting, for no case in recent history had been imbued with so much intrigue or attracted so much publicity.

And voices began to speak. To accuse. But when the man in the heart of the child of creation spoke, it became clear that the lawmakers were the lawbreakers and the scholars ignorant.

The Prince, he was a good man, he decided to let the man-child go free. But the elders were afraid and the custodians of truth were no real custodians of truth, for they realised that if the man in the heart of the child of creation continued speaking, he would soon show that even they were less than they were supposed to be.

They informed the Prince that if he did not convict the stranger, then he would gather enormous power, wealth and force-of-arm, and overthrow the Prince. When the Prince heard this, his fear and ego flared up within him. He charged the man-child to speak again and to make clear his position with regards to this accusation.

The man-child, however, having understood what was going on, shook his head and remained silent. His lips were turned down. No smile played on them any longer.

The Prince became confused. Finally he let the executioners execute the murdering of the man-child, lest he indeed become greater then he was and overthrow him.

It was a bright, hot noon, the day on which he was executed for being the child of creation. Nature wept.

Hours later, I walked away, remembering the times we had shared. Remembering his sunny heart. My heart broke. Then broke doubly. For I saw that the people were celebrating the murder of the troublesome stranger.

As my weeping grew deeper, a Shadow fell upon me. I looked up into the sky and saw the Avenger looking down on us all. And he was not smiling.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

THIS CANDLE, THIS CRADLE, THIS CROWN

Shone the New Star
Like a Comet
Blessed tail a-resting nobly
Upon the manger
A guardian, a herald
Of Eternal Love
Of Eternal Light
And I saw a smile
‘Twas an Angel singing
And a Child with serious eyes
Smiling greetingly
Into a world full of strange creatures
Long lost –

A candle is re-lit
A cradle is rocked with overflowing light
The Bearer of the Crown
Came simply
And left simply
And nobody can know completely
How much love He had
How much pain He felt
How much He loved and hurt
A Stranger
A Hero
The Incarnation of Love Itself
The Love of God
Yea, Thou art He
Jesus, the Christ
The Son of the Living God!
Amen.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

MIRACLES

Stories.
Like the one about the sad horse
Who came upon a silver lake
And assuaged her thirst.
Tomorrow she will wake up
To suddenly find that
She has begun to sprout wings…
Yet she will not turn into an eagle
But will remain a horse
Even after her wings have matured
Because sometimes
Horses are permitted to own their own wings
If they will fly up to there
As hoped
And not just fly down to there
As feared…

I believe
In horses with wings…
In fairies that, unobserved, observe us…
In animals than can read the thoughts of humans…
In babies that knew their own names
Even before they were born…
In love that does not die

Stories.
Like the one about
Two children who climbed
An old tree
And, when they came down,
Had already become adults again.
Tomorrow they will
Become children for a second time
The children they were
First meant to be

Stories. Stories. Stories.

I believe in miracles
I believe I can fly
I believe in you, Baby
Love is a miracle of life

Stories.
Like the Oracle
That predicted its own demise
But did not live
To see whether its prediction came true or not…
Stories.
Like the three sisters
Who did not know they were sisters
Until after they had all fallen in love
With the same man…
Stories. Stories.
Like the creation of the world
The adventures of the roving stars
The mysteries in the bowels of the earth –
Like the tired old widow who
Came upon a wishing-well and
After gratefully satiating her thirst
Flipped a coin
And wished the wishing-well well..
Stories.
Like the refugee
Who asked for just a little water and bread
And got it not
Yet could not figure out how to hate…
Stories.
Mysteries.
Oracles.
Miracles.

Everybody
Has a history
But some histories
Are outside everybody

If you were to behold a miracle
Now
Would you recognise it as one?
Probably not.

Miracles
Follow me
From life to life
Place to place
Face to face

There is a Green Hill
Far far away in unsullied fields
Where there be no Death
Once upon a time
Love
There is a miracle called love.
Amen.

Thirty days to Christmas
And here I am
Writing poems
And thinking just of you, my dear.

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.

BREATHE AGAIN

Wait for the knocking of the carpenter
For it won’t be long
Lovingly building that cradle, soft of hay
It will be rocked by a virgin’s song
But a prouder man, a truer man
Will watch over the smile of a radiant star
– Then, lonely earth spirit, light up your heart
For Christmas is no longer far.

And if you think deeper, you will realise
He did not come to die, but to open up our eyes
To Life, to love, to a new reason to strive.
Breathe again, wilted human flowers – and rise…

– Che Chidi Chukwumerije.