SO IT WAS
He died of natural causes
So the word rapidly spreading said
There were no witnesses,
And no need for the coroner’s report
People already knew somehow.
On that still day
In a dimly lit room
Behind polished oak doors
Someone, something had visited
Speculation has it that it was no stranger
For there was no struggle or fuss;
This mystery guest knew intimately
How to make anyone’s heart its home
They say he was found strangely engrossed
Scores of photographs disarrayed
Some glamorous, some not
Portraits of a lonesome man
Destined for a departure unknown
With neither family nor friends
He died of natural causes
So was the word spread throughout that still day
And despite there being no witnesses
We know that he indeed died of natural causes
One of them being pride.
If hatred be sinful
And love unfaithful
Who is emptiness to us?
How is such numbness expressed?
If life be tempting
And seclusion tormenting
Where is our ashram?
What is satisfaction?
If your deeds be condemned
And mine ignored
How do we discern righteousness from hypocrisy?
Where is the crime committed?
Who is the unworthy being?
If darkness be accepted as a radiant reflection
And morning speckles of grey and white,
What does good say to evil?
When it claims the beauty of sunrise,
And settles in acute corners,
Soon shrouded by dusk?
Why is rejection unsavoury?
Why is friendship tearful?
Why is despondence savage?
Why does guilt nail us to the crucifix?
When does nature’s smile present us with choices without rue?
What will ever be given without us paying penance?
Why am I me?
Why are they others?
Can we all not exist as one mind and destiny?
Can the earth not pause long enough to heal itself?
Can we not remain without God’s divine spell?
Are we fit to be free?
Trusting enough to be true?
Caring enough to preserve the salty mist of the sea?
Is knowledge acquired as a tool for degradation?
Or is wisdom embraced for resurrection?
Can we recite the poetic lyrics of time?
Have we strengthened the will of death?
Will we ever be granted a rebirth?
I do not know. This is my confession.
What is yours?
Feathery whispers traced patterns on a fleshy mountain,
Silent emotions filled with passion
Lit up the sounds of lust.
Fantasies toyed with reality
Physically surpassing spirituality
For one moment in time
Mortality was meaningless,
Purity a matter of choice,
Loyalty incoherent words spewed from a drunk,
And honour a faded memory.
Abandoned in the arms of unrewarding desires,
Misty aromas swirled around two,
Unspoken commands sculpted their palms,
The day stood still and the sun folded its rays.
Mother earth froze and the night died
Yet they remained slaves trapped
In the muciferous web of mindless interaction
Empty utterances filled the sky,
Guttural sounds soaked the soil
With a pungency so vile that the land roared in protest
Hasty vows were made by two too eager to please death,
Lives were sold that day to the author of demise,
Two names were wiped off the plaque of innocence,
Their wings broken and flags lowered.
The sight of human debris satiated their cravings,
They thrived at being choreographers of pandemonium.
Children were objects of pleasure
Circumcised for the sake of it,
Exhibited in cribs laced with thorns,
Served the venom of asps,
And forced to believe in the fantasies of Hell.
But the Father of divinity slept no more
He rose and bloody showers danced in the sky,
Stenciled on young grasslands
A horrifying scene transformed to beautiful gardens of promise
By the wonders of His incomparable love
There is a Deity of many tongues
Meant to inumbrate and illuminate paragraphs of our world
With unparalleled perfection
A phenomenal masterpiece we can never recreate.
He seeks to abide in hearts reaching for each other
Without the merging of marrow on corridors of retribution,
But with sacred torches coursing through interstitial planes
In search of a pre-eminent monument
The window of the soul
I am death without its sting
Life without purpose
I am doubt; a trustworthy friend
An angel without wings;
A soul thriving without substance
I am meaning without definition
As rational as the urgency to kill
I am sadness, a savoury stew,
A drunken soul of honour and wisdom
I am proud being nothing,
A lover of disgrace
My words are sinless and
As pure as the thoughts of man
I am a humble peacock
A generous miser;
I am sin without consequence,
Immorality without disrepute,
A virtuous one towering above saints,
A forbidden stone embedded in Mecca,
A treasure laid in the Valley of the Kings.
I am the author of tomorrow’s plans
Blessed by the ichor of gods.
I am justified insanity,
A weightless freight of determination,
Tar, the cleanser,
Vinegar – the tender balm.
I am confusion, the usher of understanding,
I am as warm as rain
And as soft as hail.
I am war the peacemaker,
The harbinger of bittersweet memories,
I am a contented glutton,
A petty thief,
A docile predator,
And a compassionate murderer
I am who I’m not
The product of who you wish me to be
A mass of illusions…
So if you know you better than I do not know me,
Claim superiority and tell me
Who and what I really am.
On the greyest landscape of your mind
Is where you will discover a haven
Haunted and hushed by fearful beliefs.
In the most tranquil chamber of your heart
Is where you will perceive a voice
That calls to sincerity and exalts a humble soul.
In valleys and on hills moulded by dreams
Is where you will unlock the secrets to imagination,
And a faith that brings dust to life.
If man were born a hero,
He would plough metaphysical terrains
With each day that sweeps open the vestibule of time,
He would exalt his strengths above those fears
Forever holding unbelievers captive
If you are a firm believer in worlds yet to be shelled
And pinnacles unspoiled
You will direct your staff at the skies,
Trace the shadows of dusk
And dance with the molten shades of lunar ballads.
If we all were birds of hope
We would soar above our tears,
Recite our regrets till we rejoice,
Look upon the waters’ radiant reflections
And chant uphill.
If we were people of wisdom,
We would cast not a glance but a meditative gaze
Upon the presence of the moment
And with patience walk into tomorrow,
Alongside the call of emancipation
The portal for ethereal voyages
There’s a place where rare seasons of joy will become
Melodious ejaculations of the moment,
There’ll come a time
When love will be greater than words can exemplify,
A proclamation of pleasurable sacrifice,
A determinant of eternal prosperity;
I know there are souls who journey beyond the cosmos
On behalf of those too burdened to fly,
Too limited to even try,
I know there are corners of this planet still of pristine character
Undefiled by marauders subliminally searching for the apocalyptic number.
I know there are children
Destined to capture this world with such innocence
As the descent of dew on a serene morn,
I know floods will blow past
Revealing a vicious demand for purpose.
I know we will explore, discovering that which yields
The acceptance or denial of truth;
I know that we are in part sublunary creatures
Machinated by celestial fires for the purpose of good,
Yet our sins, seemingly murky waters
Extinguish those heavenly chandeliers
Each time we pray and curse with one tongue.
I know death lurks nearby,
I feel it whenever my gates are open
And sleep succeeds in whisking me away
Without a whisper of gratitude in God’s name
I know we are very uncertain of the end,
We are petrified preachers perpetually immersed in conflict,
We are an undulating generation of contradictions,
Muffled choristers of indiscriminate desires.
Yet I know we will be pardoned for being ourselves,
We, predatory shadows, victims of circumstance,
Demoralising the already demoralised without trepidation of the descent of a higher hand.
I know we will vocalise our confessions as one or individual people,
We will writhe and pant after redemption and righteousness,
Hearken unto the sound of vesper-bells
Like true men of the cloth,
Hold hands with serfs; all acts of segregation dispelled,
Celebrate our negritude and fortitude,
Paint with the palates that nature spews
And steady the existing ethos by leadership of a prescient race,
A rainbow of diverse cultures
Chosen to silence the cataclysmic epoch
Of individual and global avarice
© Chinye Billeter