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

 

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

 

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Poetry 019: The Seat

I often wondered if the world in darkness shone for itself. Maybe it is we, who look but never see, that are blind.

D. Adide

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

Poetry 011: Invisible

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.