Think in Peace

Think in Peace

I sit in the garden,
the garden of peace,
and rest upon the Lord.
Then a great rushing voice
like a might wind
spoke gently to my soul

"Think in peace, 
and live in peace
and know that you are blessed.

Rest contented,
be at ease,
you know you are defended
by the master and His elects.

For here in this garden
there is no burden
only salvation
of this you can be certain".

Where Your Mind Go

Where You Mind Go

Just remember this my friend
where your mind go
your body will follow.
A man can see
before he must be.
But friend what is your imagination?
Do you see yourself as great or small?
then surely you will fall
for the lie that kills
that allows the truth to be born
still
unless you use your will
to meet The King
and stand on that hill
fully planted upon solid Rock.

The Road of the Dread by Lorna Goodison, A Metaphor for Life

The Road of the Dread

That dey road no pave
like any other black-face road
it no have no definite color
and it fence two side
with live barbwire.

And no look fi no milepost
fi measure yu walking
and no tek no stone as
dead or familiar

for sometime you pass a ting
you know as . . . call it stone again
and is a snake ready fi squeeze yu
kill yu
or is a dead man tek him
possessions tease yu.
Then the place dem yu feel
is resting place because time
before that yu welcome like rain,
go dey again?
bad dawg, bad face tun fi drive yu underground
wey yu no have no light fi walk
and yu find sey that many yu meet who sey
them understand
is only from dem mout dem talk.
One good ting though, that same treatment
mek yu walk untold distance
for to continue yu have fe walk far
away from the wicked.

Pan dis same road ya sista
sometime yu drink yu salt sweat fi water
for yu sure sey at least dat no pisen,
and bread? yu picture it and chew it accordingly
and some time yu surprise fi know how dat full
man belly.

Some day no have no definite color
no beginning and no ending, it just name day
or night as how yu feel fi call it.

Den why I tread it brother?
well mek I tell yu bout the day dem
when the father send some little bird
that swallow flute fi trill me
and when him instruct the sun fi smile pan me first.
And the sky calm like sea when it sleep
and a breeze like a laugh follow mi.
Or the man find a stream that pure like baby mind
and the water ease down yu throat
and quiet yu inside.

And better still when yu meet another traveler
who have flour and yu have water and man and man
make bread together.
And dem time dey the road run straight and sure
like a young horse that cant tire
and yu catch a glimpse of the end
through the water in yu eye
I wont tell yu what I spy
but is fi dat alone I tread this road.

I love the above poem because of how astutely it portrays the realities of life today. This particular poem comes from the first collection by Lorna Goodison, Tamarind Season, published in 1980. The apt journey motif of the road reflects the kind of road many of us here in the Caribbean continue to traverse, despite the political promises over the years of prosperity. The type of prosperity we have had to deal with sees more violence being added to the pot, a loss of community spirit and a spirit of suspicion and “bad-mindedness” that continues to plague and torment individual and collective efforts at actual progress. I wonder at the “live barbwire” and how they have changed and evolved into real and present dangers, from all quarters, that seem to press into us more and more, occupying more of this non-descript road we must stay on, by force or fire, it seems.

However, the poem is not just about struggle and continued dexterity in the face of oppression and opposition but also about hope. I feel revived by the second half of the poem, after being beaten with the reality of life that shoves itself at one daily in the first half of the poem:

Den why I tread it brother?
well mek I tell yu bout the day dem
when the father send some little bird
that swallow flute fi trill me
and when him instruct the sun fi smile pan me first.
And the sky calm like sea when it sleep
and a breeze like a laugh follow mi.
Or the man find a stream that pure like baby mind
and the water ease down yu throat
and quiet yu inside.

And better still when yu meet another traveler
who have flour and yu have water and man and man
make bread together.
And dem time dey the road run straight and sure
like a young horse that cant tire
and yu catch a glimpse of the end
through the water in yu eye
I wont tell yu what I spy
but is fi dat alone I tread this road

Den why I trod this road? This rhetorical question signals a shift of focus for the speaker. Before this, she was focused on the many oppressive acts faced on this, “no face road”. She had faced hidden dangers, in people who were not genuine, who used their wealth and possessions to repress the poor and vulnerable. She had faced rejection, hunger and isolation on this road. But here too were balms that refreshed the soul. A little bird, sent by God to soothe a downtrodden spirit, the sun to bring back to life wilted dreams and the breeze to wipe away her troubles. All in All, there is also good here and not least of which is the communal gathering of a people who share, encourage and uplift each other “And better still when yu meet another traveler who have flour and yu have water and man and man make bread together“. This sense of community is what will help the speaker and by extension all of us in a world that seems filled with cold and calculating figures and entities. All compassion is not lost to the world. There are still good people around. We just have to recognise them when we see them. And sure enough, the Bible does say, by their fruits you shall know them. It is only when we find our community and our support system that we can thrive and not just survive on this road, “And dem time dey the road run straight and sure like a young horse that cant tire“. This segment on the road reminds me of my grandmother’s practice of always looking out for the stranger that may turn up, hungry, tired or just in need of a listening ear. This segment reminds me of all my neighbours when I was a little girl who was family, ready to pinch, discipline and soothe me. Here is an oasis from the desert filled with unforgiving selfishness that seemed to stretch on for miles. On this road of the dread, there is the threat of losing one’s humanity but also the promise that when you reach the edge you can find it in a friendly face.

There is no option but to travel this road. Maybe it was not constructed by us, but since we are on it, we need to find those small treasures that will help us to survive it. To survive not just physically, but also spiritually. So that when we reach the end of our journey, all that transpired on this road would have been worth it. For, by then we would have realised that we were not defeated but crafted, transformed into the person we were meant to be. We will come to realise that we really never needed a milepost because God had placed the right people along the way to ensure safe passage.

Wishy-Washy

Wishy-Washy

You have been called.
What will you do?
Will you melt away like snow
or dry up with the dew?
See they are all
just looking at you
to make a move.
No, standing still
this will not do.

Do you hear?
You are being called
tell me will you allow fear,
a growing dread and dispair
to paralyse you
or worse,
cause you to disappear
on the ignoble frontier.

Now you must decide:
Will you fold ineffectually 
insipid,
Or rise 
sure-footed and committed?

Spring of Living Water

Sping of Living Water

The Spring of living water
tramples the dust,
makes it nothing.
That which was a cloud 
of doom,
doomed to be no more.
Heal me with water
that springs into a fountain
and floods the wasteland.
Shower me with the tears
of the storm, 
that revive the sould and give life.
When uncertainty rises over the horizon
to exact its revenge
then the water rushes through,
sweeps it out of view.

Spring forth,
and make all things new.

Don’t Quit

Don't Quit

Just because the sun
did not shine 
on you today.
Just becausethe rain 
came and washed away 
your way.
Just because you feel
the fear
stealing over you.
Just because your feet
are worn
walking in weary shoes.
Don't quit
don't give in
to the voice
that tries to imprison
you from within.

Wealth

Wealth

Look at your friends
they are your treasure
Assess your health
Its goodness cannot be measured
Look at your gifts
they are yours to uplift
Look at your life
a richness you cannot compromise.
These are yours
these are sure
These are wealth
which much be kept
on a most precious shelf.