Poetry 002: Love is…

Love is

Love is your strength failing,
Drooping slowly as a flake of snow from grey sky
To melt upon her cheek.
Love is the last dish in the sink,
The pair-less sock stranded on the radiator,
The half empty glass of wine
The dance last night,
And the song you won’t forget
While love is asleep.
Love is a cold fingertip, lightly slid along a naked back.
Love is her warmth lingering with the scent she carries,
Feeling an empty bed while Love is using your toothbrush.

© Denis Adide 2010



Finding what Love is…

Largely inspired by the cartoons shown here, this poem is a collage of images that somewhat sum up what Love is: both the disciplined action of loving as well as the intangible sentiment.

Poetry 011: Invisible


I called them my own; and said they’d know me
Yet all I’d seen was by the flickering head-lights
As the car sped through the forgotten roads
That led away from the city’s concrete shores.
My eyes, as did the slowly emerging stars,
Twinkled over the darkening moors.

I saw their backs, burdened with belongings,
Strained by the weight of the journey ahead;
Arched like the oldest branches of a willow.
Their faces, sudden with the passing light,
Cascades of dust caked, tearless visages;
Uncertain but fearlessly walking into the night.

As the sun ran and hid – for his job was done –
Their faces, like their dusty footprints, vanished.
The roads, once full, had gradually emptied:
I suppose in the darkness, light assailed.
What stained my thoughts were the random apparitions
That with the singing crickets ushered in the night.

My mind wondered as the thoughts of home
– For I was home but in some sense away –
With its paved pathways and streetlights,
Busses, trams, trains, pubs, and corner-shop cafe’s,
Malls, multistory car-parks, greens and squares,
Loosened the snares for slumber’s wake

And then, emerging from the darkness, a child.
He, in tattered garments, pushed a red wheelbarrow.
His bold head and small frame ample to the chore;
I caught a glimpse of his unwrapped sole
As the driver slowed down to avoid a pothole
Then sped off past the pair of tired limbs.

For nights I studied the little red wheelbarrow
With its tiny rubber wheel and worn out handles;
All that was within its burrow was rust,
And the many scars from years of use.
He’d however, like the city and my name, faded
Past the speeding car back into the dark.

I called them my own; and said they’d know me,
Yet all I’d seen was by the flickering head-lights
As the driver slowed down to avoid a pothole.

© Denis Adide 2010

On Invisible

The idea of a sestina and it’s somewhat enclosed space, the six quatrains and final tercet, greatly interested me. I was, at the time of the assignment, reading through Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, which is a frame narrative. This couple with frame that the form provided inspired me to write a narrative.

On one level, this poem is about the character’s loss of/search for identity. Being from the “moors” and yet living in the city, the character’s perceptions of himself as well as his sorroundings are challenged on this car journey. The contrasting of light and dark as well as the natural and the constructed were to highlight this search within him for that core – internal individual – that was apart from what he had grown to experience. That all he sees in this more natural world is by artificial light was to highlight the futility of his search. I tried to make it such that his ‘own’, including nature here represented by sunlight, would not know him. He would thus, like the boy with the wheelbarrow, be left invisible in the darkness of a constructed reality.

Moreover, this poem is also about the great divide between the developed nations and the undeveloped nations, the imposition of ‘civility’

with it’s disregard for what, in a sense, took place in the darkness, and the resulting struggle for national as well as individual identity. Again here I chose to contrast the darkness and the light, submersing the images and concepts that they develop into the earlier mentioned discourse on identity. The child pushing the wheelbarrow

, a symbol of development, disappears into the night: a highlighting of the unseen struggle to adapt to a different, and new, way of life for many. The child’s ambitions to be a part of modernity are here carried.

This poem is also about the invisible children of Northern Uganda (thus the title) and the effects of post-independent conflicts on the younger generations.

Poetry 001: The Princess and Me!

I met a princess once
Here eyes were heavy
Weighed down by the many
Tears that refused to drop.

Her journey’d made her dress old,
the frightful cold beheld her toes,
Feigning, slipper-less and mourning,
Dances that ached when remembered

Tired, she stopped when I croaked
Stretched her fingers toward me,
Knuckles notched from forgotten rings,
And bowed to speak.

Though her long hair glowed,
And her small hands trembled,
And her lips quivered when she spoke,
Her voice made my heart, enchanted, stop.

Brows sullen, she told a tale
Of old fails, and how she was,
Under the moon, left to sail
Alone across the expanses.

Her tears welled, and flowed,
And she wept when I listened.
Slowly the glow, once hidden
Behind her solemn graces, glistened.

It hurt and healed to find
And ear for the life she’d lost.
Cheered, teary, she bowed again,
And kissed me, and then smiling,

© Denis Adide 2009

The Unburied

Looming with the stench of inevitability
Her tremours follow the fading light
As suns once high choose set.

The groom awaits in tranquility
As she dances her last delight
Where suns from light repent

Her March respects all filial bonds
For none complains that his days don’t fade;
From spring into wintry let.

Death, her lips do kiss all bones,
Her face all eyes caress
And her hips all thrones subject.

© Denis Adide 2010

On Death

It was quite sudden, one moment I was admiring the reddening leaves, then next the stench had overpowered my senses. My nose, regrettably, led my eyes and this was the outcome: a rotting fox. Trust me to want to share that with you.

Here’s the thought though (no pun intended here; apologies to Ted Hughes): in the rotting fox I recognized my own mortality. There was something gruesome, inescapable, and unforgiving about death. No one will ever complain about it having passed him by. Like the fox, whose corpse was cradled by autumn leaves, none of us will escape the tide; so what’s the point in fearing it. Our mortality gives our time, and our life, value. The ticks are each a solid blessing, seasoned with the scents of spring flowers, the drizzles of summer’s rain, the red autumn carpet and the heaven of blissfull snow. The bitter-sweet tastes, the rising and the ebbs, all form part of the wealth that is the human experience.

In seeing the fox, I became more alive. Took a fresh breath (once I’d moved away from carcass) and cycled on: enjoying every moment.

The branches

I spent the latter half of today with an eight month old baby in an office that was eighty percent female. You would have thought it a nightmare, to have all the swooners pass by and take their fair share of the baby’s chuckle. It was however, a lot of fun because he was great company to have. Unlike the rest of us there, he was open, unguarded and honest about how he felt. He farted when he felt like it, cried when he felt sad or deprived, laughed when he found something funny, and never once hid his desire to learn new things. I ended the evening, on my way away from the child – someone else was going to look after him now – comforted away from the anxiety surrounding my own children (potentially on their way via stalks from heaven): it seems the biggest swooner of the day was myself.

The comfort however, was twinned with an aching heart. There was a thought emerging, a concern for the millions of children who – in that very vulnerable phase of life – are left to endure extreme hardships. It felt in my heart – and this is the image I had – as though the adult hidden inside that small body was being pounded out of shape by the various circumstances that the child was forced to go through – circumstances that we, society and their parents, are supposed to shelter them from. There was a sorrow for the abused, neglected, forgotten, as well as murdered children. This sunk me and almost brought me to tears – I didn’t cry though, I stopped for a minute to compose myself, tears didn’t seem becoming of a tall, hooded, black man.

To all the parents – potential and actual – think on this. I heard it said somewhere that we are possibly the only animals that require others in their species to survive for the first ten or so years of life. Nearly all other animals can survive on their own after the first year. We however require assistance for much longer. That level of fragility is one that we should look to cater for and cradle with as much love, affection, and care as our human potential can muster. It’s far from a question of instinct, our brains are more developed than the rest of the animal species: there is the depth and wealth of love that we must tap into and discipline ourselves in the acknowledgement of our weakness, with a view to change or seek assistance. It takes two to conceive but more than two to parent: we are all hollow in some areas, knit the web that’ll cradle our children.

To the rest of us ‘adults’, here is a thought. Why is it that as we grow older, the things we lose are the very things that kept us happy? I was shocked at my dishonesty when close to tears I turned away from view and took a few breaths: the image of composure was one I was desperate to keep; as though weakness was somehow an inhuman trait. What happened to the nakedness of out youth: the tears and laughter, the dependency and honesty, the vulnerability that made us carefree, and the peaceful sleep. In my experience, they are cultured away by the rod of pretence. The more we learn deception and pretence, the more we mask who we are, using the tools to our freedom to hide our scars – when our scars are the marks that make us uniquely beautiful.

I yearn to be attached again to that child inside, to be free again; attached to branches of life: unique and yet part of something bigger. Happy and honest, that’s the aim.

Adideism number one.

“Love fiercely, freely, and without compromise; but begin with yourself”