Then Sings My Soul…

There are just some poems that move me to tears. So sentimental, that all those moments from the past just come rushing back. This is the case with, It was the Singing, by Jamaican poet, Edward Baugh. Those nostalgic poems that make you hopeful and tearful at the same time. Tearful because your heart has been full for a while but you never knew how to release the pain, hurt and disappointment that has been piling up and this poem comes along and gives you the grace and permission to finally let it all go. The poem reminds me of the need for community to share with us those burdens we cannot bear alone and a blessing that can be found in the face of tragedy. They contain powerful words that can soothe the soul, and bring us the peace of mind we need even as we grieve.

It was the Singing

It was the singing, girl, the singing, it was
that full my throat and blind my eye
with sunlight. Parson preach good, and didn't 
give we no long-metre that day
and Judge Hackett make us laugh to hear
how from schoodays Gertie was a rebel
and everybody proud how Sharon talk
strong about her mother and hold her tears.
But the singing was sermon and lesson and eulogy
and more, and it was only when we raise
"How Great Thou Art" that I really feel 
the sadness and the glory, wave after wave.
Daddy Walters draw a bass from somewhere
we never hear him go before, and Maisie 
lift a descant and nobody ask her,
but it was the gift they bring., it was 
what they had to give and greater
than the paper money overflowing the collection
plate. It was then I know we was people
together, never mind the bad-minded and the carry -down
and I even find it in my heart to forgive 
that ungrateful Agnes fir everything she do me
and I sing and the feelings swelling in my chest
till I had to stop and swallow hard.
Then sings my soul, my saviour God to thee,
How great thou art, how great thou art...
and we was girls again together, Gertie
and me by the river, and then the singing
was like a wide water and Gertie laughing 
and waving to me from the other side.
Girl, I can't too well describe it.
Was like the singing was bigger than all of we
and making us better than we think we could be,
and all I asking you, girl, is when 
my time come to go, don't worry
make no fuss bout pretty coffin
and no long eulogy, just a quiet place
where gunman and drug addict don't haunt,
and if they sing me home like how they sing Gertie
I say thank you Jesus, my soul will sleep in peace.

Broken Chains

Broken Chains


Cracked 
Splintered
Scattered
Lost
chained...

On my knees
twisted by the weight 
of too much to carry far.
What must I do?
If I could stand 
I would be wider than the seas.
There would be 
limitless depths
to me.
But on the shallow tide I must cling.
I have no choice.
Held down by powers
greater than me
I weep...

Can they hear me?
If so why don't they come?
Why?

Slowly,
every so slightly,
I feel
a crack
against 
the puckered skin
left to fall off the bones.

But - 

A fire
burns
A fire rages on
A fire that destroys the fear
A fire that promises release
A fire that burns away the chains
A fire that ignites the pain
that will help me
be me again.

Unending Love

Unending Love


I have died several times.
I have been beaten countless times.
Left bloody
the earth swallowed my life's essence
gone.
Yet I am still here.
I have been lost countless times
parched
delirious
emaciated.
I tasted defeat
constantly.
stabbed in the back
I bleed relentlessly.
Yet I am still here.
In the dark
I was stripped to my bare bones.
pecked and picked at
I was a tattered mess.
Blinded by fear
I have been mocked and jeered.
I have been left to crawl
across molten lava.
Yet I am here!
Defeated in battle
abandoned by the troops
through Sargasso wide and far I have weaved.
Left behind 
too slow for the "we"
I was made a pariah 
A bud balling for release.
Yet I am here!
Yet I am here!
Yet I am here!

How? 

Song in My Heart

Song in My Heart

So faint and distant
it comes from a ghostly realm
where dreams go to die
and are no more.
It beats out of step 
behind a moldy door
left to fester and perish
no oxygen given
a place where no hope liveth.
But the song
the song is in my heart
covered under all the cobwebs
have almost pushed it out
into the cold...
Then sings my soul...
The song hangs on
clings to the last thread of stubborn will.
Or maybe a Spirit?
But I must bring forth this song.
Oh the song!
From generational curses
I must unearth this song.
Oh the song!
From death and hate
I must dig up the song.
Oh the song!
The song
the song!
It refuses to die.

It changes shape and space
but it remains the same.
A symphony of strange sounds
proclaims its immortality.
It rushes out from the dark places,
requires me to sing victory.
Because this song will never die
neither will I.
It is perfect
it is true
it is faithful
All this also I must be too.
I must find my new
yellow brick road
to claim my song.
Lost to me But never forgotten,
stolen 
but able to be restored.
My song-
only I can sing it -
the right way.
Oh the song!



Though the Righteous Fall Seven Times They Rise Again…

I’m sure there are many guilt-filled persons walking around who have not allowed themselves to be persecuted in the court of public opinion, but who have gone ahead and condemned themselves and exacted punishment. Guilt is a burden that many find hard to bear, but many carry. The thought that “I made a mistake” or “I did something wrong”, can be the nail that seals a life of misery from which a person can never recover.

So many are so concerned with doing good and making sure they toe the line, they eventually have a nervous breakdown and destroy that image constructed by one foolish act – at least this is how they see things. They do not believe they can be redeemed after those mistakes and either lash out at others or lash out at themselves. The reality though, is that we all do things that will cast doubt on our “good”l image that we have spent so long constructing. For some being good has become a full time job and they have traded genuineness for fakeness. We become okay with persons who project what we expect and not who they truly are and expect others to be and act perfect when they were never meant to be that way. If we are good maybe it is okay to judge others, to relegate some to “those people”, who we will never be like.

If we accept that we a imperfect beings, then when we fall we can recovery quicker. We can accept that our failures do not define us but can transform us, help us grow and flourish, then we can better survive the storms of life. Guilt, will not take root and eat us alive – stifling our potential. Then we would know that there is life after those mistakes and that those mistakes will not have power over us. Instead of aiming for perfection, what we need to do is be honest on our journey, expect honesty and nothing more. Know that persons will disappoint you and be okay with this because they were never perfect to begin with and they should not have to be something they by nature are not.

Don’t strive to be perfect but to be an overcomer. It is better to have failed and learned from that failure than to remain stuck on impossibilities that cause you to fail. For it is in falling and failing many times that you will ascend to where you are truly meant to be:

for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

Proverbs 24:16

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From the Edge of Doom.

From the Edge of Doom.

From the edge of doom I stand.
Flames lick and caress my face
I can taste its essence
As my face drips with its lingering scent.
Just one more step
into a black void of nothingness
welcoming me home.
To step over 
I must get by the jagged edge of my conscience
that rebels
reminding me of my commitments.
But how do I escape this pain
of loss?
I do not know
I cannot tell.
I look behind
nothing.
I look ahead
also nothing.
But maybe this nothingness ahead
will give me rest.
Take away the pain,
maybe?

"whether you go or stay it does not matter
it's all the same - "

I must shake it lose
this beast that tries to devour me
telling me to move forward
over the edge.
Maybe there is still hope
whatever that is.
Like Lot's wife I am rooted
but I have looked back - 
again.
I cannot bend my knees
so I stand and pray - 
relieve!
As the flames mesmerize and thrill
I consider embracing the madness.
Should I give in?

"Who must I kill to find redemption?"

No one comes,
no one answers.
So I stand -
until I am pulled over by the flames
or drawn away by saving grace.

I Don’t Want to Exist, I Want to Live!

If you died today what would your legacy be? I have thought about this and for me it is still up in the air. I guess it’s not up to me to answer that question; time will tell and so will my eulogy. I realise that sometimes the view we have ourselves differ greatly from the view others have of us. Some feel the need to write their own eulogy, just to be sure. I have been teaching for thirteen years and I often wonder if I have done enough with all the wonderful talents I have been blessed. Have I done enough? Been enough, seen enough, lived enpugh!? Can these questions ever be satisfactorily answered?

There was a time that I was so passionate about what I did and I did my best to do what I did. However, as time goes by and the expectations of critics are not met, they begin to chip away at the budding confidence you had in your ability. They look and note that you have not ascended to the lofty heights they thought you would reach and they tell you; so, you begin to question whether or not you really did anything, whether what you did was enough. It becomes especially hard when you see others who have done so many things that they have been recognised for and you begin to lose confidence in the little things you once thought were so great. May, you now feel, you are placed in a waiting room, because you disobeyed your call to action from God, then you begin to wonder if you are just drifting away.

But all I want to do is just live. I just want to live the kind of life I was intended to live, without fear worry or tears to cloud my vision. That is it, that is all. I don’t want the fame and I don’t want the fortune and don’t need the empty promises of who I could have been. In this moment without any more regrets and doubts about my place here at this time in history, I just want to live. This desire comes from a place that has never had time to heal properly from past wounds, it is too raw to touch, yet it yearns for sunlight. Above everything that this world could offer, all I desire is a chance to truly live a life free of expectations and perceptions, stereotypes and stereotypes. I want to inhale deeply and exhale freely and feel my heart swell with the joy of knowing that I have this gift that is worth more than silver and gold. We all need to just live and be allowed to live and any attempt to derail this is a crime against our humanity

There are so many landmines that people have to go through in this world, and many do not make it. There are unique problems that we each face that threaten our ability to live, some more than others. It is easy to become disenchanted by all the rocky mountains with loose rocks that come at our heads before we thinking about climbing those mountains. At the heart of everything is the one unchangeable truth, nothing is more precious than life. Nothing requires our full attention, but the desire to live.

Before we think of death, we have to deal with the business of how we will keep on living. We have to be aware of the value not only of our right to live but the right of all persons to live the life they have been given by God. It is a right that many are denied , a right that many do not know they have, right that should never be hijacked or denied. We should also keep in mind that we do not only fight to live, we also fight to realise the joy of truly be alive!