The Service

My sister asked me, as we drove to church on Remembrance Sunday, if there was going to be a third world war. I responded by saying that if there was that there definitely wouldn’t be a fourth – misquoting someone. My wife cut an eye at me and reassured my sister that there wouldn’t be a third world war because it was something that no one would benefit from. It seemed a good response for my sister as she stilled; I was troubled by it. If the reason for a cessation of arms is a selfish one rather than a social one then is peace really a reality. I suppose it is one of those things that you have to accept when it comes rather then analyze. What is clear though is that there is a deep lament within humanity for rest.

I wonder what my Sister will say to my children, or my children to hers, about Rememberance Sunday?

Lines written after the service

I could hear the children making noise from the annex
as everyone else stood in the moments of silence.
Inside I chuckled in the realization that for the most part
the future has a way of, at it’s inauguration, forgetting the past

© Denis Adide 2011

Poetry 16: Send me back to sleep

They that uphold the law
Plan to meet in secret.
Their murmurs ever mow
The never-trust that existed.
Wounded I prowl
Flames of hope extinguished;
Diminished to a foe
With a heart un-relinquished.

Still my aching consciousness Oh Lord!
Send me back to sleep.
Distinguish in my conscience
The space in which I weep.

They that love by law
Ban my love for secrets.
Their groanings ever grow
On the hush that once existed.
With wounding words they prowl
Games of peace extinguished
Exalted friend now foe
My burning heart relinquish

Still my anguished consciousness Oh Lord!
Send me back to sleep.
Replenish in my conscience
The space in which to weep.

That love now has a law
That love makes meet in secret
Makes love forever more
A love that ne’er existed
For foolish words turned foul
And scent of love extinguished
Diminished to a law
The act of hearts relinquished.

Still my anguished consciousness Oh Lord!
Send me back to sleep
Exalt within my conscience
The love in which to keep.

The love that once was law
Makes law want meet for secrets.
The law that love has more,
Hopes secrets ne’re existed.
Free words with hearts to prowl
Where law not love’s extinguished.
For love admonish law
Or relent from love.

Still my beating consciousness Oh Lord!
Send me back to sleep
Crown within my conscience
The love for which I weep.

Love beholds no Law
As love beholds no secrets,
And love beholds no more
Than those in love existed.
Secrets are the sores
In whose boils all love’s extinguished,
For secrets are the wars
In whose pains love stands distinguished

Still, for though art LOVE oh LORD!
And in thee do I sleep.
Quickened in thy conscience,
Tis in thy love I kip.

© Denis Adide 2011

Send me back to sleep

I parallel the processes of love and law with the journey to the cross. How does love survive in a world whose rules a set against it, whose people cling onto the rules with their lives? Thus the line between love and secrecy; liberty being one of love’s arteries.

Poetry 003: The Proposal

The proposal

She took the rose I gave her, tied the stalk with a silk string
And hung it from her windowsill to dry;
Its petals still accented by the scent of early spring.
She smiled. “These flowers, my love, tell a lie,
For they do not have the life to which they cling,
Their crimson clothes for affection die.”
Slumped I stood, “What a reply!”,
And couldn’t tell her I’d bought the ring.

© Denis Adide 2010


Proposing

In my experience so far – which I don’t think differs from any – I have been victim to the strange way in which men and women, in speaking the same language, misunderstand each other. Thinking on this pointed me toward the fears that I had – and still do have – about openly expressing how I felt to a woman. How everything they did or said affected what I was about to say. The proposal is such a story, where love – and the celebration that it should carry – is lost in the vacuum of things either unsaid, or misunderstood. It is a solemn poem that like the hidden ring, speaks of concealed emotions and thoughts lost on the threshold of commitment because of fastly fading sentiments that are as dead as the flowers. Love, more immortal than the dying plants or the fears that hamper, is sorrowfully lost in the small moments. This poem is for all the men, who like me, never reached the height of romance in their proposals. It is a word to our respective women: our actions will never fully incapsulate our sentiments, bare with us.

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.