Posted: April 14, 2014 in Poetry
Tags: , ,

by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

Here you come, Brother Francis in your white
To pay me a visit; -a new convert
Of a different faith. The missing sheep
Gone from the fold, lost, in need of saving,
So you said. Here you are once and again
To pass harsh judgement, lay accusation
On the evening sun. Rest your feet, I pray
Come drink with me awhile, eat my kola,
Take a seat old friend before you begin
To reprimand, casting and binding me,
Seeking answers from the stone, asking me
Why I did not go for service today?
When last I had received the sacrament?
If I’d said my prayers five times and more?
Or if I still give heed to holy books?
Ah! My Brother, Where do I start to spit
The conflict in my soul; the doubts and droughts.
How do I tell the dark tales of my kin,
The broken arteries of my upper being
The ravaging war for a creed of peace?
How can my mouth bless a being of love, who seek
My blood and tears; a perfect offering?
How do I cry to a God, who created
The sun and the stars, the moon and the morn,
Negroes and Whites, Jews, Arabs, Greeks and More,
The Aztecs, yet chose a few for his own?
Tell! Tell! For I know not where to begin
Or where to end. Break full the coconut,
Shell and all, not like you did before, when
You’d replied with eyes sharp as the vulture’s
And lips dipped in holy water, you coughed
A divination from the heart, you said;
Religion and the Religious are two,
Not one but two joined together by faith.
You prayed, cursing flies and fouls over me.
Ah! Brother Francis, your words are profound
Deep and dubious, complex and confusing.
Wait! Listen…Answer if you can, I ask;
Is a tree not known by the fruits it bears?
Is the crescent moon not the same full moon
Partly obscured by the night of our choice?
Why do you strip the sinner of his sin,
Yet feed the saints with the spice of his hands?
Condemnation; you gladly had me preach
On the Niger, when civilisation
Was in its infant age. I do recall
The propagandas, the pleasure you took
Labelling me: barbarian, damned heathen.
You ceased not to tell; the heroic tales
Of your own, your clerks, your saints and soldiers.
You– a brave knight, I– a nameless savage.
Reminding me always of James and John
Of how they braved the Congo and the Nile,
Of how they ended the killing of twins,
Freed the slaves and gave sight to my people.
Or have you stopped unearthing dirt and dust
The skulls of victims –human sacrifice,
Hideous past practises of my kin.
Lo! Brother Francis, was the butterfly
Not larva, the old not once a child meek?
You commanded and we set upon it.
We followed like children hungry for sweet.
We followed you into the market square
Preaching the gambit, cursing our fathers.
We left the she-goat in tether, speaking
In a foreign tongue; the pater nostra,
Abandoning the ancestral beliefs,
Starving our own of life and libation,
Denying our gods of praise and kola.
We marched with hallelujah to Rome’s hill,
Singing “hakbur” in the vales of Mecca.
But our hearts were no more as green, our lands
Hold no harvest for the hands that hearken.
We pray, divided by perennial feud
Of east and west. We sleep caught in between;
A fox in a trap, we howl at the moon.
Ah! Brother Francis, my lips cannot tell
Drawing circles with the moon, to expose
All the pains and penance we still endure
From the hands of your religion of peace.
Our ancestors were to blame, blind, naive
Ardent to an unwritten faith, oral,
Without scribes, easy to fault, –to squeeze out
Like vinegar on sponge, doomed from the start.
Thus you condemned it in one single gulp,
One singular word, Ah! Cursed, Vile, Defiled
But here we sit, witnesses to dark side
Of you, –judge and jury, hands tightly bound.
Two pleas you gave yours, more if need arise.
Where is love, Brother, where is the justice
You so speak of? Where is it now, do tell?
Can the eyes find love unblemished by man?
Is your faith not flawed by your own actions?
You prayed, we forgave the ills of your past;
The inquisition, the tortures and wars,
The faith that stirred Richard at Aayadieh
Called Arabs to the sword with equal zeal.
The creed that sentenced Galileo to jail,
Doubters to death, heretics to the stake
And brought Gandhi to the sting of the gun.
Forgive me Brother, pray, may I go on
And split more secrets on the stubborn ear.
Death…fraud…deceit…hatred. Ah! Gracious God
The blood of martyrs; –extremists…the seeds.
The Church, the clergy and crowd are but one,
So is the Mosque, the Synagogue and Shrine.
Be they saints or sinners, viles or virgins,
Whatever they are, so is their messages.
Do my words offend you, there let me leave
Speak, why do you recoil, then let me stray
Go back to ways of old, or something pure,
Something green and true like humanity.
Raise altar in the chamber of my heart,
A Paradise on Earth, a new Eden.
Pray death finds me there, leaves me there a child
Where birds have lulled me in to sleep with songs
Of meekness, virtue, wisdom and patience.
I will not invite you, Brother Francis.
Lo! I will not disturb your good conscience
Or soil your sparkling white with heresy.
No– I will let you live your days in peace.
I beg you stay, let me live mine as free;
A lost soul, a heathen, an easy fool.
My hut; have it, my barn; you may keep it.
The clothe on me is yours to take, but lo!
Love me still with a love like mine the same,
Tolerant to all. To live and to love;
Side by side like wheat and weed, grace and grass.
A perfect mosaic, you- white, me -black.
Till Earth grabs me whole, enclosing my soul
With inferno or with indifference.

Note: these lines were inspired by a chat I had with Anene Francis as regards Religion. It has been re-crafted into a work of hyperbole and history, questions and quest..and do not necessary bear my belief in full…a parts of it, sure is herein (a little fiction with equal facts). I am grateful to Francis (whose imaginary character though not as lucky) for the inspiration to write again after so long a drought.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

  1. Tonye Willie-Pepple says:

    What can I say, a beautiful piece of poetry,well researched,well written, very hyperbolic, very historic, at some points though as a christian,I said to myself well, God did not just call the Jews out of all his creatures, he has called us all through Jesus Christ his son, it is human beings and not God that make the religious way seem hard,difficult, Be that as it may, The subject is timely and well laced into a poem, Kudos to you, a good and inspiring piece indeed.

  2. Anene Francis says:

    Hahaha… friendly revenge abi? Its allowed.
    This is somehow misleading o. The character is not like the Francis I know. Guess he has to look inwards again because if this is who he portrays, then some things should change. Crosschecking… Reacting fully to this would require another of its kind of which I lack the literary muscle. A few then without repeating much of what I have said previously.
    * A piece of advice: seek the right, the truth not the convenient.
    * Coincidentally, my today’s morning devotion was Gal. 6:1 … We all have different degrees of blindness, and seeking the way. Unwavering stance and right to judge is out of the equation. As much as I wish to lead others to what I think is right, I too should be very careful.
    * Being religious is not an end in itself but the good life its should lead to. (If one ‘truely’ feels it is doing the opposite for him, please he can excuse yourself o. The good life is paramount. Maybe Gandhi can gist you better on that.)
    * Yes, judge not a religion by its so-called followers…
    * As I told you before, I’m on social media to inspire and be inspired, to enlighten and be enlighten, and also to catch fun. Thanks.
    Nice piece Brother Solar. Lol

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      Brother Francis…you know how I feel about you…warm and well..the feelings you inspire. I call this a hyperbole because I exaggerated your comment and reaction. So fear not, Brother.

      But speaking of replying me in full…I strongly suggest you do, Prose, a short article or review will do…you need not to write poem…it may obscure feelings, words and tears you wish to share…I really pray you do…

      This is a poece I feel deals with the African Man, disillusioned with foreign faith and his own ancestral way, spark, seeking tranquillity in the wild. I am grateful for the inspiration indeed. Sorry for the Francis herein..he smiles+

  3. timnwaobilo says:

    Mr Francis.
    Hahaha…he called it friendly revenge.
    I guess I Second that.

    “… seek the right, the truth not the
    My quote for the week.
    I love your retort.

  4. timnwaobilo says:

    Mr Charles once again demonstrates his erstwhile congenital, beautifully honed artistry of articulation.
    I am not one for excessively long poems, so when I scrolled down before I started reading, I went “Aha…here’s another one.” But you have again dissapointed me positively. Yea, truth right there.

    I dont blame the CHARACTER for his outburst. It must be predicated upon previous experiences which may not have been pleasant[Though their ‘pleasantness’ or otherwise may not necessarily expunge their reality/truth].

    But I am suspect of the CHARACTER cos he calls himself a New convert…meaning that he accepted the message of Brother Francis. How come he suddenly seems averse to the idea of receiving his ‘preacher’? I say “the idea” cos he doesn’t even give Brother Francis leave to establish the purpose of his visit before rushing into accusations. Yea, cos That’s what they are. The CHARACTER totally pre-empts The Francis. What if Brother Francis Actually came to tell the CHARACTER of a good news, probably some good news for him?

    I must However acknowledge the powerful presence of hyperbole in this poem. It may tend to dilute my concerns for the CHARACTER.

    Mr Charles Actually paints the picture of the attitudes of most religious bigots today, whatever religious divides they may traverse. Its unfortunate those few lot have tended to paint the minds of non-converts and converts alike grey and even black, as evidenced in Brother Francis’ convert.

    Kudos Mr Charles, probably a little hibernation is necessary for fresh blood, if you know,what I mean.

    Nice work.

    *Is the CHARACTER a new convert or a lost sheep needing saving. You alluded to both divergent facts so I chose the one to benefit my comment.

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      A new convert/ of a Different Faith…Different, perhaps Different from Brother Francis’…
      The Missing Sheep/Gone from the fold, lost, in need of saving/ or so you say…

      From the following lines, you may sense that this is not the first time or the last time that the visit was made, he offered a seat and plead that his visitor sit before he begin “To Reprimand, Casting and binding me.”

      A little slow reading, divorced of Bias (he smiles) for Religion will help you the reader to help me a learning-writer…+

  5. mckingdavid says:

    The poem is somewhat story-like, brilliant as the poet. I see hypocrisy, sad tales; history blended with objectivity …You’ve successfully reminded me what I wrote in one of my poems. ”They brought the message of the cross, but defiled the message of the cross”. As a student of Anthropology, History and International studies I love this poem personally. Maybe, I’ll make you my favourite poet of the month.

  6. Sheyzznote says:

    Charles! Charles!! Frankly speaking, this one is different from what am use to reading from you, you’ve done a great job on this piece I must confess.

    Religion is a topic you and I know is a bane to humanity, and should really not be overemphasize else people start seeing us as advocating heresies.

    Religion was with us when civiliazation marry up with it, the product of the union is what we all can now see now.
    Whether diabolic, christianity, islam, judahism, Hinduism etc all focuses on the existence of a greater force out there that man should revere, but Humanity is the only religion that teaches us the true character of how we should live.
    What is more sublime is that “I do my things and it does not infringe on the right and peace of another man but rather make things better for a good existence”, that the religion I want to preach, that’s humanity and that’s the will of God.

    Charles, I commend you on this one.
    Whatever religion we all chose to follow, let’s use it to preach humanity

  7. LegendaryCJN says:

    This is perhaps the most valid and objective religious argument I’ve read in years. Splendid and straight to the point. I like… Thanks for sharing (a bit of your thought)

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