Save

Wash over me: Baptise
Wash into me: Blood
Save!

Trembling as I approach the shores
Feet get wet
Tears fall

I see the doors I don’t let open
And him before them all: knocking
Patiently with those eyes of Love,

The Love I need but don’t want
The Love I need but don’t want

The Love I need but don’t want
For the pain through which
My healing and freedom will come.

Wash over me: Baptise
Wash into me: Blood.
Save!

Though art with me,
I will not fear,
I will tremble,
I will not be afraid.

© Denis Adide 2014

 

Bricks

Ephesians 1:3-6

“I thank God every time I remember you, In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with Joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”

I always struggled with the term “coming to faith”. In my case it seemed disingenuous. Faith in the Divine wasn’t this thing or place that I happened upon during the course of my life. On the contrary, Faith was at the centre of my life from a very young age. This, partly I think, can be attributed to the manner in which my parents and relatives expressed their faith. More poignant however, is the recognition within me of a knowledge of an ‘other’, the thing I now understand to be Love. It has been a constant hum in the background as life ebbed, whispering the songs of selfhood and identity throughout my childhood – in this I include the adult and adolescent years of curiosity and discovery. God was never far enough for me to have work hard to find him. He was, in fact, close – within me – working to grow my eyes and heart into maturity: the ability to see, hear, recognise, and respond to Him and His love.

I found however, after my awakening, that life had more hurdles to overcome. It seemed as though the world I had occupied did all it could to spit me out – people I valued greatly couldn’t stay intimate with me as a result of the new direction my heart was being tugged. It’s almost as though in surrendering my life to God, I gave up the world. I was forewarned about this by wiser Christians and had encountered the same in scriptures, this sense of carrying a cross, of hardship, of rejection by the world, but was unprepared for it. For all the encouraging words however, I still felt the sorrow of loss. This was compounded further by everyone talking about having received “peace, joy, Love” etcetera. I, meanwhile, was in pain: it hurt to be – or at least feel – alone. Only one thing kept me walking in this new direction toward the known unknown, a deep sense that it was the only way I could go.

Jesus spent 40 days in the desert after He was baptised. He then returned to where He had come from.

Retrospectively, the world I inhabit now is no different from the one I felt sorrow for leaving. In fact, the Church has the same broken people within it – me being one. The difference is this, that after time spent separating myself – or at least trying and failing to separate myself – to and for God, there is a solidity within. This isn’t my doing. He led me out of my house into a storm and asked me to stand and call out to people without shelter while he built a stronger house around me. The more the bricks went up, the less the wind blew. This house is still incomplete but I’m beginning to trust in the pace of the work and the workman.

Take heart, persevere. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…

#Return

Ashes to the Penitent: Dust to the everlasting
#Return

 

The same hands that lay the palm leaves
beneath the donkey’s hooves,
Hammer the nails in,
Received the pieces of silver,
Unsheathed the sword,
Rolled the dice, and the stone,
Prepared with care the crown of thorns,
Received the bread, and the wine,
Counted the accomplished Baskets,
And thrust the spear into His side.

Can these same hands now put down nets,
and nails, and coins;
and foods, and altars, and stones
(from stoning each other,
from stoning Him);
Put these down to take up compassion,
to seek the one their hearts reject;
to stand alongside the One upon whom a cross,
nails, and a crown they placed.

Without Love, all is vain.

©Denis Adide 2014

“Remember that you are dust
And to dust you will return
Turn away from sin
and Look to Christ”

Awaken

Son of a man, what do your eyes see?
Are they covered: veiled
By what these wrought things draw forth?

Son of a man, what do your eyes see?

Footprints my LORD,
And a great scroll floating on a fire:
Unconsumed.

Son of a man, what do your eyes see?

An altar my LORD,
And a ram slaying a lamb,
Blood washing over a fountain of tears

Son of a man, what do your eyes see?

A thousand voices crying,
Sorrow perched upon a throne,
With a crown that does not fit;
And dark robes.

Son of a man, what do your eyes see?

A bowl full of seeds,
A staff resting at the foot of the shepherd;
and sleeping sheep.

Son of a man, what do your eyes see?

Bones dancing in the rain,
flowers in the desert,
Wolves, without bloodshed, satisfied.

Son of a man, what do your eyes see?

Upon a cloud salvation,
Upon a donkey hope,
Upon a tree cursed freedom bound
Upon a table, a new thing:
Love woven into flesh
Life into clay.

Son of man, answer me.
Who dictates where upon the stem,
the bud emerges?
Who carved each grain of sand?
Who paints the day and keeps watch over the night?

It is beyond my knowing LORD.

Then, son of a man, awaken
Slumber no more.
Shake the sleep from your eyes so they may see.

© Denis Adide 2014

Poetry 034: The seat

Just a note:

After the hours he had spent seated on the soft moist moss, Alexander opened his eyes. Though weighed he couldn’t rest. The trail he had been following had come to and end by the tree whose stump now supported his back. Five days worth of walking, itches unscratched, now lay at doors of vanity. The exhale that accompanied the slump was full. His feet twitched from toe to hamstring once the weight of his upper body was off. Now stretched before him, he could see the punishing he had given them. Closing his eyes he assured himself that the thirst he sought to quench was worth more than bruises, grazes, holes from thorns removed, rashes from nettle bouts.

Footprints; they were crucial but few. Whenever he had considered turning back their direction would call to his mind the possibilities; the reality of the dissatisfaction from which he had embarked turned his toes to face his leader’s. Soft earth was his map, twigs and warm fire stones – always five – proof that his journey wasn’t vain: but vain it was becoming at this stump.

On his emptying steel water flask he saw beards, hair surrounding dehydrated lips, a mane where there was none. The nails hampered by his teeth were now flourishing: this was a stranger, a man he was growing to like. His fingers shook as he lifted it, trembled as the last drops from it disappeared onto his parched tongue: they weren’t enough.

Head lowers with the flask. Eyes go from flask to forest floor. Beneath a brown leaf, footprints.

Crimson tide!

Driving up the A40 into london I held my breath while under the Hanger lane bypass. This junction between the A406 and the A40 marks the border between the inner and the outer city. Countless times I’ve driven through there with my younger charges who’ve all urged me to hold my breath as we went through the tunnel which like a portal ushers you from the first world into the busy one. You can tell the difference by the significant increase in traffic lights and billboards. It is to the latter that my attention today is drawn.

As I exhaled, emerging out from the tunnel, my thoughts were on how foolish I felt to have done that while alone in the car. Embarrassed but happy I reflected on how the littlest and most childish things gave me the most joy when done. My thoughts were interrupted by two images on the billboards ahead. They were of a half naked woman with crimson lipstick provocatively postured. I immediately ceased being a child and read what it advertised – a ‘gentlemen’s club’. It was 10 o’clock in the morning.

I find it interesting that the link has been created between a disregard for the dignity of women and the sense of manliness. The link is so strong that it has created an industry for itself. Sex, sexuality, and their power is such a potent thing that if mishandled can yield great pain. We live in a world that tries it’s hardest – and succeeds – in convincing the majority of that it is okay and actually quite ‘gentlemanly’ (or manly indeed) to see women as mere objects to be gaped at, wolf whistled, picked up and dropped off once used. Evidence for this is the billboard in question which, for me, surmised the commercialisation of what should be a gift. What’s more tragic is that the machinery has been at play for so long that some women have taken to it, mastered it and now use it effectively; perpetuating the problem. The yield is a generation, or two, for whom femininity and sexualisation for women, and masculinity and infidelity for men are tied.

There is a fine balance to be struck between collective responsibility (legislation) and personal responsibility (response ability) when it comes to this issue. We can all stand and watch while the generations that follow spiral further into a warped – and warping – planet, blind to the truth of healthy sexuality. That world where intimacy and commitment are continuously choked and sex – which should be a by product of good relationship (in the balanced diet with intimacy and commitment) – is heralded as fast food. We can indeed stand and watch…. Or change.

http://www.mumsnet.com/campaigns/let-girls-be-girls

 

 

Neath the wing

2012

I left a team meeting for St Francis Community Church (@stfrancisW10) and had to drop a friend (astoryoffailure) off in Shepherds bush. On the way she challenged me on my perspective on failure. I had always held it in mind that failure was somehow on the way to success. I didn’t know how to comprehend the possibility of failure being an end rather than a stepping stone.

2013

A question is asked of me:

What do you want most, Perfection or Contentment?

Maybe it is time to let go of the heavy yoke and be human, be loved, be…

 

 

The End

“We don’t do any other sizes but the standard one.”

This the response I recieved from the man behind the counter at the pret i’m currently seated in. I had asked for a mega sized hazelnut both pointing to the amount of time I was going to spend in the cafe writing this article, but also a reflection of the sigh I needed after my ordeal at the apple store.

The winter of 2008 was one of fresh self discovery, I had just spent a good year out of university and was at the begining of the course in creative writing that I had enroled on. My first two years of University were spent trying to study Aerospace engineering, a dream that was not mine though carried as though it was. ‘Who would care about English as a subject when the whole world spoke it?’. This the question that tethered me to the mast while the sirens (Sassoon, Wordsworth, Plath, Coleridge, Armitage, amongst many others) called out to me with the sweet melody of prose: where words and their signifiers danced effortlessly with philosophy and sentience. I had made the break, unhooked the tether and embarked on the journey that ultimately finds me here.

Convinced that I needed it for the study, and happy with the new found sense of self, I walked into an apple store in search of a character defining machine. I didn’t care so much for reasoning, all I wanted was something that was mine for no other reason than I wanted it. That was when I saw her. Her black skin, like my own, in the vast sea of white, stood out against the backdrop of light wood, glass and whitewash walls. She was crisp, open, and calling. I was thirsty for what she oozed and was almost mystically drawn to the potential of what we could achieve once twined. I chose her, paid for her (think what you will of me, she was mine for the taking and needed liberation). Pleased with my purchase, I carried the white bag – it’s emblem (the bitten apple) speaking volumes about the sense of internal indignation mixed with excitement that coursed with the adrenaline through my capillaries.

These five odd years since then have passed quickly. Countless lecture notes, short films, articles, and a dissertation have been mused and written in her presence. I had to forgive my little sister for breaking her screen (which proved very expensive to replace) and recently my wife for liberating one of her keys. Slowly, and almost inevitably, she grew old and weary. Her contemporaries died and were replaced by new models but she pressed on: I persevered with her (loyal). Even when the thinner younger version was made available (ipad2), I still did the bulk of my work with her.

So it was with a deep sadness that I brought her in to the store for a final repair and received the words ”won’t be worth fixin’ mate” from the ‘genius behind the bar’ (there is plenty I could say about the ill treatment I recieved in the apple store but that would be undignifying for the moment). Mourning and indignant, I wrapped her in the bag they gave me, unwilling to let her be seen in their store, held her close and gently carried her to the car – where she rests till we get back home.

….

How existential can one get about a computer dying?

….

I may be the only one who has particular points to which they can pin the beginning of a positive change in their lives. What I contemplate now as I have the last sips of what is a cold late (thanks to this long post) is the death of a symbol. My Macbook was, and represented, the break from homogeny. It presents (presented – sad times) the moment I took stock of the uniqueness of my fingerprint, the moment I realised I had a voice to explore and discover, the moment I became Adide (in all it’s complexities known or unknown). Her slow death, which has began, represents an end: the end of my physical tether to that pinpoint (it evaporates into a memory – unreliable as that is).

As I type this on my iPad, she sits in a cold boot. I sit in a warm cafe. A catalyst to my becoming shed as in the stages of rocket launch. It is a sad moment that is coupled to a wellspring of hope.

I leave you now so that I may grieve. Hopefully to return happier.

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