Poetry 020: Bathsheba

I have made a covenant with my eyes

Job

 

A few lines musing on the root of lust. 

It’s strange that I would wish I hadn’t
raised my head from the soft pillow.
For maybe I this madness wouldn’t
have ingested from the window.
In slumber I’d my thoughts so ardent
Kept concealed and winnowed.

And so I’ve lived in persistent fear
of that day when the Lord would come,
for the cool – once an oasis near –
now burns my parched tongue.
And his words – once songs to my ear –
the noose from which life hung.

If love lived in a hunger unquenched,
and lust was a drowning thirst,
Then merry many sweet fruits untouched
would have kept us with the first.
And the words he placed to stay the tears,
would have worked to stay the hearse

© Denis Adide 2011

Once he saw her, he was lost. Two people lost their lives, two had their lives changed and three relationships were broken. Bathsheba, like eve, is not to blame.

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 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

Psalm 137

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – for ever”

George Orwell

Life can seem unfair. Things can look bad.

1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept 
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

 

When the Psalmist writes, Israel is in captivity. The Babylonians have come in and taken them into slavery. This was a situation they knew they would only find themselves in if they were collectively disobedient. Being right with God equaled being In Israel and worshipping in Jerusalem. Being rejected by God equaled captivity.

To be a Jew then meant to be set aside for God. To be chosen away from the rest of the world, to be God’s special people. To be rejected by God meant loosing identity, it meant loosing their sense of significance; and loosing their land. And to make matters worse, the Babylonians mocked them and asked them to sing songs about God.

As Christians – God’s chosen people – living in today’s world, the boot on the human face, it is hard to feel constantly connected to God, Let alone praise him. The sense of God’s absence, or what we perceive to be his passiveness is magnified. With all the power at his disposal, why is it that people die of hunger, children get abandoned, siblings become strangers, and divorces happen. Fathers reject sons, loved ones pass away, heartbreak and loneliness are commonplace even within the church. Meanwhile thieves get away, embezzlers get rich, and power stays with the corrupt. And at times corrupts the true.

 4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?

Well first thing is to follow the psalmist and remember Jerusalem.

“They defeated the evil one by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony”

Revelations 12:11

Last time I focused on the ‘word of their testimony’ part of this verse as an urge to us for honesty with each other, sharing the moments of God’s blessing and intervention in our lives. This time I focus primarily on the ‘blood of the lamb’ part of this verse. The first thing this speaks to me about is that God didn’t let the evil one prevail. Even from genesis where sin has caused mans separation from Eden (the place of unity with God), within the curses of separation is a promise. Of one whose heel will stamp on the head of the serpent.

The problem of the world is the human beings within it. Adam and eve with the freedom that God out of his love gave them, for pride and selfishness turned away from him. What we see and experience are the accumulated effects of this same pride and selfishness over the span of man’s reign.

The solution to the world comes from the God who made it and them. This is the Good news, that God has not left the world – and us – in the state that we are in. That there will be an End, which will in fact be a beginning for perpetual joy and fellowship, and deep intimacy with Father. In fact with Christ, this end has begun.

 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only begotten son, that whoever believed in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

   may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.

Remember that God has a plan. And that there will be an end to injustice – the boot kicking the face will be stopped. There will be an end to pain, to sorrow, to rejection, to insecurity, to sickness and to loneliness. There will be a beginning to life, to joy, to peace, to reconciliation, and to freedom.

The Psalmist says.

“happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.”

But does this mean we can’t complain about how things currently are? At times I’ve found, that being a Christian magnifies the sorrow of the situation. Knowing how good things were or could be, or will be (in our case) makes how things are sometimes more painful. For instance: I pray for the health of my non-Christian friends because the thought of them dying without ever knowing the love of God through Jesus is difficult to deal with. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to actually loose a loved one before they knew God. Or even just loose a loved one. I haven’t spoken to my father in months. Knowing God and his love for me, amplifies the desire to be loved by my father and increases my pain at his silence. These things make some of my conversations with God extremely difficult.

I remember the first time I spoke to one of my friends (he was not a Christian then) about God, he swore at God. Life had been so hard on him that the thought of God loving him didn’t make sense. And a God who seemed to stand by while everything bad took place in his life wasn’t worthy of praise but on the contrary – to my friend – should be cursed. I stepped back because I thought lightning would strike him and was a little shocked when it didn’t. What actually happened was a slow resilient hug from heaven. He was a Christian in the space of months and still is today.

9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

This is the anguish of a true complaint. The sorrow of the situation expressed. We all want some sort of retribution and the psalmist is merely asking for what was done to Jewish children to be done to their captors. The law of an Eye for an Eye. The problem with this law is that if we call for it then we have to live by it. And by the same law that the psalmist condemns he is condemned: the Israelites wouldn’t be in captivity if they hadn’t disobeyed God and the wages of sin – disobeying God – as we all know is death. So having been forgiven, or even praying for forgiveness, we are left to wrestle with forgiving others. Turning the other cheek is difficult.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t complain. Knowing the end, knowing Jesus should usher us into freedom not into bondage. Paul says “there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love” and that God’s “grace is sufficient for us”. This means that we can come boldly before God with our deepest pains’ deepest anguish and darkest laments knowing that the father – thanks to Jesus – understands. And we know this because on the cross, in the darkness, in the loneliness  where he who was perpetually in a relationship was separated from his family and himself, and was being mocked by us; the people he was suffering to save. Jesus, feeling abandoned by his father, complained.

“Elohi, Elohi, Lamma Sabbach thani”

“My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me”

Jesus more than us, understood God’s plan for humanity. He even knew the glory that he would receive after he resurrected. That didn’t stop him crying out to his father. And when he died, the curtain that meant Jerusalem was the only place where we could find God was split in two. We were given the right by his blood to come before God as sons and not criminals.

So… take a moment.

Be Still and Know!

….

Feel Free to in comment or query.

The Beautiful Game

I had thought, moving to High Wycombe would mean the death of my footballing and the beginning of that ever looming belly. Grumpily I had complained about the lack of places to exercise as well as the shrinking drive to jog. I think it was out of a mix between Pity and ‘I have to stop him winging’ that my wife looked up football in High Wycombe, sending me an email with the relevant clubs and contact details. Sheepishly I said an almost tearful farewell to my London Club.

I have played a lot of football games, been a part of many teams. So today’s games weren’t supposed to be any different. The routine of working through training, patiently waiting for the next game and the chance to play was something I was already okay with. But something different happened today. There was a sense of peace that almost overwhelmed me when we all stood still for the minute after praying. Praying!. What a thing, to involve God in something so personal, so fun. That on top of the prospect of two football matches on the same day just made it dreamy. Granted there was the occasional swearing and a possible fight in the friendly but that was more than compensated for by the goals scored.

Sitting on the sideline is never pleasing. Watching football makes my feet itch so being kitted out and waiting was almost torture. Long story short, with 20 minutes left the substitution was made and 15 minutes late I was on the score sheet.

Good start Den. Good game St Andrews.

I leave you with this piece I wrote a while back that I think sums up today.

The Beautiful Game

My feet tingle as I wake, breakfast awaits
the golden sun like succulent bait
causes my heart, alive, to salivate.

The grass is greener now,
Winter’s slow howl makes
for the weekend a softened brow.

The slow ticking clock – a tease –
as I set my sights on my pilgrimage,
with thoughts on the soft breeze.

I know as in the forgotten night’s dream
reamed into morning, the greens
will welcome me again.

© Denis Adide 2010

http://www.teamstats.net/sacfc/

Complex, Intricate, Beautiful, Designed

“Oh, was there ever sailor free to choose,

That didn’t settle somewhere near the sea?”

Rudyard Kipling

I’ve tried hard to find a sort of niche from which to emerge from, but the thing keeps eluding me. When I attempt to rest on academic thinking and writing, I find a creative surge emerging within it – ruining the edifice from its foundations. When I try to find space within my creativity, my philosophical tendencies emerge and create such great hurdles and wind breaks so as to almost choke the continuity of my minds processes. When I return to reason and Logic, faith emerges and overturns all the senses of certainty from which I first embarked. Finally I find myself a sailor on a boat in a raging sea with no land or light house in sight.

I suppose this is what I get for trying to express myself as a sense making sentient. The most annoying part of it all is that my heart always knew that my place of rest wouldn’t be in any sort of rooted position. Rather that I emerge in routes through different anchors. Rhizomic then my expression will be: peppered with different windows into each of the various places I try to call home: Complex, Intricate, Beautiful, Designed.

Intimate with fear

Intimate with Fear

“The world is not a safe place to live in. We shiver in separate cells in enclosed cities, shoulders hunched, barely keeping the panic below the surface of the skin, daily drinking shock along with our morning coffee, fearing the torches being set to our buildings, the attacks in the streets. Shutting down.”

Gloria Anzaldua – Borderlands.

If perchance I had been born in a manger with a slight hint of divinity in my blood, maybe – just maybe – my heart wouldn’t look with sorrow on these the days of woe. Truly, though I may at times entangle myself in folly, the awareness of the unchanging circumstances never wanes: things were never better, nor were they worse. It is the lament of a soul encased in flesh and bone with a certified amount of ticks within which to understand the whole, parading itself as joy in a nostalgic thought.

He came, He saw, He conquered. I am, I see, I weep. From whence cometh my help?

With my hands I wielded the sword, and death produced the foreign skin to cover my own. The peace of a naked mind, lost to lust and quickly forgotten, left the void within which this intimate fear reigns.

And skin turned to brick, sweat turned to motar, an inch into a thousand miles. Sister turned to foe, brother to a difference, a touch to a thousand fiery arrows. Light brought forth a darkness, love brought forth a pain, and men were drenched in the stupor of madness, which is now stretched across the generations. These were the beginnings of the turbulent days. None is alive who remembers, all struggle for time forgets.

He came, He saw, He conquered. I am, I see, I weep. From whence cometh my help?

Surely there exists another way!

© Denis Adide 2011

Let him who has ears listen and he that understands teach,

because for a lack of knowledge my people perish.

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 015: The Waking

They all stepped out to lament the waking,
taking with them their ash, sashes and sack cloth.
Tears welled and all wailed
As the failing ships sailed slowly back up the river.
Blood strewn and empty
with the impaled heads of their hither sons tethered to the masts
These same sons who’d ventured onto a summers dream
and bound up the stream into winter’s song:
Sailing on under the raising bridge on calm waters,
Implacably past the cascading reams of
Sorrow filled figurines who seamlessly formed the procession.
Long gone were the cheers that bade these thanes farewell,
The scene of pristine flowers felled
and placed into the swell that welcomed,
as with the loud bells, their entrance into the dream.
Debonair and scent-clean,
the affair had marked the beginning of this spent dream.

Awake, the scent beams of rotten schemes,
The boats creak as besotted eves glean from the distorting winds reasons to weep.
Death, as with the rain, had poured his seems upon the embers of the nights ignite.
No knights tonight from these ships alight.
And the city weeps that once in daylight did in sleep delight.

© Denis Adide 2011

Waking

I wrote this piece after thinking on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. It speaks about the dream of, as well as the cost of, conquest.