Hello, My name is Niel and these are the ChristaPoet Freestyle Sessions. This year, ChristaPoet wants to give you a special perspective to our freestyles. At first, some of these poems were published as stand-alone pieces. But in actuality, each poem is an untitled part of the a freestyle session. Each freestyle session is given a topic for the poems to address.
Last week, I showed you freestyles from the months of April and March. It is time therefore to advance to the month of May. But may I yet indulge you with poetry from the last day of the month of April. April 30th saw some really great poetry.
We begin at Nonso John, 12:11pm in the afternoon:
Let the words of my mouth.
And the meditations of my heart.
Be acceptable in your sight.
And when I come on the edge
Of every of life’s precipices.
And take the plunge into decisions
Let my Falcon find his Winter Soldier.
That the tears of my eyes.
And the trepidations of my heart.
Find me, and find me still, in you.
Sometimes I forget to begin a freestyle session and everyone carries on like it’s a Wednesday and not a Friday. But sometimes, like this particular day, the poetry starts ahead of the giving of a topic.
Speaking of the topic, the topic this time was “How to pray”. Nonso, however, didn’t know any of that. He just wrote, and at 12:36pm, he wrote again:
Give to a fish, man.
And he’ll soon need another.
But teach a fish to man.
And you’ve manned him forever.
And this fish will grow balls.
Big, strong, hairy ones.
The heart of a lion.
And the will of a Warrior.
Teach a pauper to paup
And he’ll Jabez all his life.
But give a crown to a King.
Bend the knee.
Teach a Seminarian to “amen.”
And his palms will always kiss.
His lips whisper benedictions.
Knees chaffed from petinence.
But teach an infant to faith.
To Abba, and to Kadosh.
Bring him truth in all its glory.
Watch the sun bow to him.
Ten minutes later, Funke came through with:
Enter his gates with boldness & thanksgiving
Let go of all these misgivings
With praises -hands raising
Acknowledge His sovereignty
That is how to Pray!
Take your guilt to the cross
Leave the burden on your source
Confess your sins, let His blood erase
He knows about them anyways…
Acknowledge He knows all…Yes He does
This is how to Pray
Forgive, if you were offended
So your prayers don’t get hindered
Though hard, let Grace prevail
The light of Christ passing through your heart’s veil
Your petitions afterwards present!
This is how to Pray
Well the list is inexhaustible
For scriptures exists-so irresistible
Saints of old also echo their tales
Telling us how to Pray!
So while I wait for Nepa’s light
Saying No to sweat this Friday night
Abeg add my prayer to yours till I hear
This is how to Pray!
It’s the brightly colored writing style for me. She managed to read just like a psalm would. The anachronism is the NEPA there. That’s pretty Naija.
When those of us who have read UC Truth
saw “UC is typing”, our excitement was evident. Here he is, at 12:47pm:
How to pray I know not
Maybe it is because I don’t have a rule of approach
I just go when he says come
So I come
how I Am
said I should
I set my eyes on him
and then I rise like the sun when it’s dawn
when I’m done
Which is never
Cos I pray whenever
Wherever I am
For I Am is there wherever
Whenever I pray
I Am is there whenever
Wherever I pray
Boldly I do
speaking normally like I do
When I say how I feel to the ones I do, to.
And if saline fluid escape my eyes
I let them
just like he lets me breathe
I let them too, one then two
Until I have cried him a river
same one he lets bubble inside
and then the water breaks
And I put to bed
whatever it is that bid me come
happy or sad
I lay them all there, stripped
naked, at his feet
whipped beyond recognition
Tongues and tongues lashing
till only one tongue is left laughing
So how to pray I know not
I just come and be me
So, tell me; how did that feel?
For me it felt like he was replying to the question of how to pray in an anguished, passionate groan. Well, that’s UC-sensei for you.
It is important to recognize that these different replies basically represent different prayers to God, and then there are the replies. At 1:50 PM, Tochukwu came through with his own entry:
Convo with my dad?
With all sense of respect yet so informal
With calmness in my voice but not of fear
With a knowing that he really is listening even if he’s looking at a newspaper while I blab
I don’t need to call him big names to get him to do my bidding
The name ‘Daddy’ is more than enough
Reserved only for his offsprings
I just come because I’m his child and his responsibility.
With no sense of terms and conditions applied
He took a 27 minute breath and then he continued:
A quick one…#PettyFuse
For Christ’s sake, do we really need to raise our voice at him while having a convo?
The answer is obvious
It’s a two person conversation and the other ain’t hearing impaired
What’s with the ‘raise your voice’ and ‘I can’t hear you’ everytime we gather to communicate.
Like I was talking to you before…
Seems the amplitude of the sound increases the efficacy of its ascendance.
Without the gyration, the communication is not effective ’cause the angels on duty do not receive enough kinetic energy to be excited from one level/realm to the other realm carrying our requests with them.
Did I say we should not freely express ourselves as we please while praying?
I just asked why there’s a need to induce persons to increase their volume when obviously they ain’t talking to me
And to think that the person they’re communicating with is closer than their breathing breathe
Maybe it’s more spiritual to ‘ratata…’ in high tones than in soft tunes
And such are the Poets in our team. The fluidity and freedom of language…you should try it, if you haven’t. Meanwhile,something was brewing.
Amongst us in CaP,there are those with a blinding dexterity to their techniques. But that is one of the things that you learn with us – YOU ARE AN IRREPLACEABLY UNIQUE VOICE.
So even when you feel like there is no point trying because you will never surpass so and so? Everyone feels like that at some point. However, everyone didn’t live in that feeling. There is a time for everyone,but you must grow daily, in order to be ready for that moment.
But some are born ready.
At 5:09PM, Hanna stated categorically:
But that would be disrespectful
How can 24 elders be angry at me at the same time?
So I tiptoe into Abba’s parlor
Mumbles some words while
He discusses with them about the state of the world and all the big things happening somewhere in the middle east.
Each day comes like the previous day and I do my rituals, mumbling pale nothingness into the blue skies in hope that I’d be asked “what did you say?”
Who knows, may be courage would find a platform on my tongue to vent all the molten magma boiling within
Sometimes a stare from Abba at me…
Is he really looking at me or at my sibling who is speaking loud into my ears like I have the answers to her prayers?
Some days silence is what he had for breakfast, no incense of any kind.
Yes,I was shocked to see myself awake
Anyway, what is there to gain?
Moments where I needed to divide the hours, sorry elders into two and tell him of the impending dangers he’s already aware of.
But I just sigh and he nods in the midst of their conversations like he heard me.
And yes, a day came when I finally did say those first words
He looked at me without surprise but with the look that was satisfied after much longing , the desire to hear what I had just said.
And that was it!
The rest is his story because a conversation almost always involves two lives.
First, I’m like, Who is angry?
Then I get sucked into her artful contemplation. She’s just writing what she is thinking and seeing in her mind’s eye, as she prays.
Let it be said,clearly.
This is a compilation of prayers that were supposed to be poems about “How to pray.”
Chika St. Davnique:
I’m struggling to understand it
How do you stay still?
Storms roar and you’re the eye
Silent like the tears on Hannah’s cheeks.
How do you stay still?
How does a mother watch her child die?
I struggle to grasp the difference
the disparity between a God who is good and allows crushing.
Maybe teach me to pray?
Maybe help it all make sense?
Maybe stay still and just sit
Shey you see this one…?
She just ups and pretends she doesnt know she is praying, just to illustrate a person who doesn’t know they are praying. The goddessness of the notion, leaves you wondering…
Does she know she is praying?
Does she often pray this prayer?
Then it dawns on me. We all do.
Ini Brown probably waltzed into group chat and went straight for the fridge. He dropped this one at 6:04 PM:
How to pray?
ok, how about,
give me give me give me give me give me give me.
oh and my name is Ini.
Many times we are blinded by personal needs,
often seeking harvest from personal seeds ,
salt of the Earth, the world is a pot of problems, but you’re not our cup of tea.
how about the next time I try to, pray I don’t pray about me.
Where is my laughing-hard emoji?
I believe that if you had read any of these poems on their own, you would get a part of the picture. Now you see them together, I think it’s a more wholesome picture. Tell us what you think, and see you next time.
Chika St. Davnique