One Stone!

Bones upon bones, upon bones, upon bones,
Strewn across the land
where swords unsheathed have sprouted –
are sprouting – like flowers

‘Not one stone will be left a top of another
all will be thrown down’

Blindness, upon the hour of thy visitation.

When the earth laments
it spews up limbs
like slowly dropping, stubborn, thick, viscous tears.

‘Not one stone.’

What, one stone?

These are not the dead
They are the dying
They are our dying
Covered in dust but refusing submersion

They are the flesh you ask us to leave
That with fine sinews cleave onto our resurrecting
emerging from our tarrying
unclothed and Spirit-less.

‘All will be thrown down’

Bones upon bones indeed,
Bones upon bones in need
Called away but staying slain
With spades harvesting the swords
Harvesting death from death.

‘Not one stone’

‘One Stone!’

© Denis Adide 2014

 

“Let the dead bury their own dead…”

 

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”

For Bones

And we feasted
Concealing the truth that our fasting taught us:
We were ultimately hungry.

We drank,
Away from the wilderness
concealing our thirst.

We made merry,
with songs,
With the sound of drums and lires,
flutes and harps; and horns –
Concealing our sorrow,
In wine diluting our tears

‘But this bread has no substance
It fizzles on the tongue
fading in taste before teeth touch’

‘And this wine evaporates
with no sweetness
Nothing but the knowledge of a deeper sustenance,
and greater satisfaction
in the face of truly empty plates,
and hollow cups.’

So our feet are delayed in jest,
Our eyes utterly deceived,
Led by our desires we hide
Behind garments of Gold
made with leaves from the tree of the uncovering:
Sails raised but empty:
At the rudder in a desert’.

“Have you not seen?
Have you forgotten?
The seat upon which
but for the blood of the Lamb
you couldn’t approach?”

“The gift is greater than the trespass”

“Bread for the soul,
Water for the spirit,
A Spirit for dry bones.”

And so may it come to pass –
as indeed it already has –
That the great LORD laid out a table,
Placed upon it a loaf,
And beside the loaf a chalice.
Then with hands from compassion stretched out,
He called.

He called.

He! Called!

To the thirsty, the weary, the week,
The hungry, the broken, the meek,
The bound, the wailing, the weeping,
The fatherless, the widows, the seeking,
And the enslaved.

Come!

Come!

At the sound of His voice the music stopped
Fading into the sound of deep weeping.
The chefs downed their tools,
And parched tongues followed their hearts;
Ears to the wind,
Sheep by the staff.

In droves they came.

The chalice overflowed,
And the bread was never consumed,
Though broken and shared.

“Happy are those who are called to His supper”

©Denis Adide 2014

 

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

Note to the son 3:

He couldn’t look me in the eye. I couldn’t hold this gaze much longer either, the tears were slowly welling and I didn’t want him to see me cry: I didn’t want him to think me weak.

[What is weakness but strength hidden,
what are damned tears and a stern face
if not markers of fear victorious
flags at the feet of mountains
and courage lost…
and courage lost.]

He only ever cried once when I was around. That was a while ago, nearly a decade. Time has made me unsure of the honesty in the droplets he slowly wiped with his handkerchief, folded into a perfect square.

[These ‘spots of time’ like brushstrokes loose their paint the further they stretch,
colour rages against the canvas, the canvas wins – unless the painter dabs once more.
But some streaks are seared, from the furnace to the mind they are etched
and like the wounds they are, remembered they are ever sore.
And scarred ….
And scarred…
And maybe sacred.]

Shame had brought us here. The same that made me quiver when I thought of how I might end up opposite you. Just as he does opposite me. Afraid to become a composite I had lived up to my name – his name. IF we end up here I hope you’d not hide as I did.

And thus we stood in silence. The words like a torrent had flown out and filtered downstream. Wetting the hard stones on their way to the plains. Forgotten until our descent.

[… and like wounds they were, remembered ever sore.
and ever sacred…
never sacred…
always scared like courage lost…
and no more…
no more.]

“Yet to those who believed”… Help my unbelief.

© Denis Adide 2013

38da5-fatherholdingbabieshand

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

 

38da5-fatherholdingbabieshand