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.

Notes to the son 4

(Worse still I didn’t name him)

I forgot he was there
in the room with the door ajar.
Walking through the corridor
He caught me unaware

He ran from the fortress
that he’d made with his mother
Stopped by me and slowly recovered
His apparent happiness.

“Where have you been?”
He asks, then stares.
“Oh how unfair”, I think
Pitying myself in the affair.

He is the son I can’t hug
Stringing me up like a hangman
on the noose of my own longing
we stand and know each other
eye’s locked till he understands
till we both understand
It hurts to say goodbye.

(worse still I couldn’t name him,
fight the frames and show him love –
the wealth of which overflowed)

We’ll have to mourn separately.

© Denis Adide 2013


Note to the son 2:

They tell stories of sons and Fathers
Of names passed on, with love and luggage;
Tales of love, passion, compassion, courage,
longing, sorrow, and rites of passage;
Hammers, nails, paints, and screws,
waiting patiently in absence for news.
Sulking quietly in pebbled mews
after leaving the playing fields
assailed by apparitions –
the visions of happiness,
Fathers and sons arm in arm with dog leads,
kite strings: heart stings – like wasp stings
inciting anguish where absence flourished
and the word unspoken never became flesh,
like songs they linger, hovering over the deep,
Keeping without form, void of love:
There are no parting skies here,
no falling dove, no world of Love,
no baptism, and indeed no name,
not pat on the shoulder.
Just the boulder – unassailable emptiness –
pressed down by these long tales they tell.

Maybe as I sit recounting what ails,
my hope is that in my edicts –
sorrowful they may seem –
are sinewed songs to entice you to –
in your grand oddessy – settle by my shores
And change the colour of the ink I use,
Scent the pages, accent the alphabets,
give prominence to my loftier notes,
amplify the chords that bind me together,
roof the house that leaks
and light the fire.

And light the fire

light the fire.

© Denis Adide 2013



The outstretched arms of Love

There were no clouds when I set off; none.
Clear skies and sunshine,
Hope and songs of praise,
Fields of daffodils and tulips,
posies and forget-me-nots,
Chariots of fire.

But the Darkness I blamed You for fell
And for hours the sky turned black,
the wind blew dust into my eyes
the waves disobeyed the horizon
and spilled their showers mightily
over the untrodden path through beeches
that I could just about make out.
Feet sinking in the mud
I began to regret leaving the boat.

Lamma Sabach Thani

“look up” You said.
And at the foot of the first tree
I saw the streak of blood
still trickling down.
Up from my muddy hands I saw soiled feet
scarred marathon worn calves
lines from the leather straps.
Buckling knees and exposed hamstrings.

Dice in my hands.

Scars that aren’t healing
a dying life without end
and outstretched arms of love
under whose tension the slumped crown
drops tears, seals of my salvation,
down onto my brow.

‘behold I make all things new’

Hope and songs of praise,
Fields of daffodils and tulips,
posies and forget-me-nots,
Chariots of fire.

© Denis Adide 2013

The Forgotten

We exist,
Far from pebbled streets,
Castles, boats, and the great stream.
Far from the high walls lit up by screens,
From crowns, kings, queen and politics,
We are the only things
They honestly cast aside.
Like a gum wrapper or a flyer from the 4th Sainsburys down the street.
They built it over the ruins of the old library, Which they had first converted into a pub.
Our worth receeding as the companies
Saw fit to freeze the books for drinks,
Then drinks for the chance to squeeze the last pennies
From the emptying streets.
Underneath whose dim lights we exist.

Like the prison, they walled US in.
Slowly we forgot the dreams they sealed,
Visions and hopes tinned between
The tall – wall to wall – blocks that seem
To keep even the slightest glimmer of hope at bay.
the Light of day is rarely seen.
In darkness mothers turned to teens,
And fathers into ghosts – unseen.
Sold the age old heresy
That in these dejected seams
The colours of skins divide.
But we, who in these covered schemes reside
Quietly recite the chants and sing
Knowing that here,
where the forgotten swim,
the truth – like we – exist.

© Denis Adide 2012



Play the game

I will give you all this if you bow down and worship me

It is with a great disappointment, especially in myself, that I find this being the mode of the world: that in some cases, honesty – and all the vulnerability it requires – yields pain, sorrow, and failure. Tomorrow I face an interesting situation, the heart says break and be true, the mind says be as true as you can without breaking. The heart says be honest and yeild control, the mind says control and be safe. Deep down there is the knowledge that controlling is actually unsafe because it takes power away from heaven – whose loving heart yearns only for my Good (or at least I hope). Voices, externally and internally however, have made their opinions known: this world isn’t ideal and has no patience for optimistic (what they call naive) idealists.

It will quickly chew up and spit out what is not bone

Have you ever felt the fear of being known – understood – and not rejected? Scared by the idea that your scars would not repel? Or that what you may receive for your openness is an embrace? This is the place where true choice – the determinant of character – resides: in the decision to manage what you know, or step into the unknown (or rather the un-experienced – because you already know it).

Maelstroms (see picture) can either destroy or propel depending on the sailor. Confidence, skill, and grace are key.

In the desert He knew Himself

I’m unable to sleep out of pure anxiety. Seek me tomorrow and see if hope was victorious over fear.

When the boy starts to die!

Walking downhill to my car – which was valued @ £100 recently, I looked down at my feet and like a flash remarked to myself how different I didn’t feel as compared to me a decade earlier. This is the lie of growing up: for some, your dimensions change in scale thus making you unaware that time’s relentless purge has, and is, working.

All of a sudden I took stock – such an adult thing – and realised I was almost 27, Married, deeply in love, holding responsibilities, and about to drive a car. Fear, excitement, trepidation, and sorrow washed over me in waves. There were long summer days when all I worried about was the grasshopper I was hunting, or the accuracy of the slingshot my older brother Simon was making. These were the carefree days before I learnt how to conceal my tears, and my pain. (I’ve become so proficient at it they don’t even fall when I’m alone. When I feel the cry it is in much the same way as before but my eyes are too proud). The boy was dying, I needed to keep him alive.

What was the difference between us? Brutal Honesty. He was surviving on the fumes of my loud farts, on the rush while playing football. He loved it when I cared honestly for myself and others, or when while driving home, I marvelled at the yellow motorway streetlights that led straight into the red sunset (I used to tell myself, and still believe it sometimes, that God painted fresh sunrises and sunsets just for me). He loved standing in font of the grill and watching the fire, smiling without reflecting: enjoying the moment. Running for fun, rolling down hills, hiking, biking, and doing handstands.

But wounds from hurt people, threats from insensitive people, pain from fearful people, and lack of courage from myself – to swim against the tide – are chocking him.

I promise him I’ll try. They sound like the empty promises of a realistic – cynical – adult, given to an ever hopeful child. He hopes we survive.


Poetry 034: The seat

A poem about a blind poet

Seated, he heard the foreign sounds
Of passing cars, of children, of hounds,
Of planes sailing through the clouds
Of silent moments, and of crowds.
The wind through the leaves whistled
The bamboo heaved along with the thistles
Distant worlds in torrents neared
But window blinds blocked out the mounds

Seated, he thought to find the nouns
For subtle smiles, for tickles, for frowns
For faces floating from the downs,
through greens, through forests, and through towns.
Deep within old cinders glistened
He strained his heart so it would listen
And the world without in torrents neared
But window blinds blocked out the mounds

© Denis Adide 2011

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