As The Ruin Falls by Clive Staples Lewis

All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

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Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love –a scholar’s parrot may talk Greek–
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.

by Clive Staples Lewis

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Fallen Tear by Shane Downing

Overlooking the shore of time lies a man sent,
On a mere journey to find the heart in nothing,
With his strength and questioning mind spent,
Stopping once to take in hand a bird’s injured wing.

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Lost are the graces that make courtiers cry,
Gone from here the memories of soft life,
Vanishing on the crag are passions that die,
And nothing more is left of painful strife.

A tended wing to the creature with weakened faith,
Tidied blood hidden to show all stoic senses,
Amid the expanse of nature yet alone in truth,
Too long has it gone without gentle hands.

A fix and fast as said – It rises up from the dead,
Noting briefly the helper before leaving it’s bed,
Flaps the wings and offers closed eyes,
Flying off in the mist without further good-byes.

The crouched figure turns to view the sea,
Wondering at the red crests of the sky,
Stretching on forever without a cause to be,
Yet solemn in it’s grace as anyone high.

The rocks of the side hold tightly together,
Praying to nothing and all in final glory,
Calling out yet not making a sound in pain,
Seeing light yet unable to enter it now.

His eyes are downcast to the fiery waves,
Light shining from the dwindling sun bright,
Seeking the answer to what he craves,
Thinking – No, knowing, but fears the light.

A look back to the path he’s come silently,
Then again a glance to the ocean below,
A final twist of form and he leaves it be,
Leaving a faint rose cast into the briny sea.

The bird chirps from a nearby hold at the man,
Seeing more than any uncaring human can,
Noting the poor grace of terror so shear,
Missing not the man’s fallen tear.

Shane Downing

The Immigrants by Brian Quinn

The year was 1889,
And the rail-gang paused to rest.
The sun was hot, the men were tired
As they laid rail-tracks to the West.

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One of the gang wiped his sweating brow,
His name was Paddy Joe.
He had worked on the gang for twenty years
And the wear was beginning to show.

The railroad president was in his train,
He was out to inspect the rails.
And his train stopped behind Paddy’s gang,
And he descended to welcoming hails.

The president paused and said a few words,
And he thanked the railroad crew.
Then his eyes caught the eyes of Paddy Joe,
And he winked, that’s all he could do.

Then Paddy Joe said to his neighbor,
“That man up there could be me.
We both left Ireland on the very same boat,
And together we crossed the sea.”

“We both started out as laborers,
And I took my pay and had fun.
But Michael there had a big vision,
He wanted a railroad to run.”

Brian Quinn

Struggle Of A Black Child by Chuma Okonkwo

As a black child
At the beginning were birth pangs
That welcomed my checkered existence
My childhood was full of struggles
That became my birthmarks.
Like every other tyke of my kind
That attended schools where blacks were minority
Chronicles of Western myths became stories I ever knew
Legends of untold black heroes were left in the rear seat of history
Where pages of surviving tales were rouletted and turned into dots
And slots left in my mind turned tabula rasa.

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As a black child
Struggles became songs I sang
At school I knew no friends
I stood a distance far from their feet
History books of black legends were my companions
Every page I read became a scar
Tears I shaded were words I ever spoke
Pains became air I inhaled
Anger became gas I belched
My words became brusque
No one understood when I spoke.

As a black child
I refused to be docile
I challenged every smirk of my tormentors
I never buckled under the tensions to change who I was
I was a unique mold from the kind of clay that made my kind;
Never easily washed out
My strength was in my black power.
I wasn’t alone in that wilderness of unknown history
What I faced other black teens faced
In unison our voices roared
We got the audience we needed!

As a black child
My passion burned into my hearts
It glowed like a phoenix that never dies
The embers never burnt out of the inglenook.
The stars became our stepping ladder
We sold the hard-to-sell thoughts no one was willing to buy
Tales of unsung legends on the lips of many
The struggles we conquered became the shining armour
That silhouetted against our destinies
Who I am, I cannot change;
A black child, transuding the dark aged slim path of life;
A Struggle that glues past, present and future.

Chuma Okonkwo  2013

Teach them young by Chidi Okoye

Teach them the songs of the land.
Teach them the rhythm of life.
Teach them the strength of the past,
That they may appreciate the beauty of the future.
Children of today, nations of tomorrow.
They have the right to know and believe in the unity of life.
Teach them to know that all men and women are not just nor truthful.

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Let them know that for every mean and selfish people, there are honest, generous and dedicated ones.
Teach them the power of the spirit of sportsmanship, to enjoy winning and as well accept losing when it comes.
Teach them that a dime earned is to be valued far more than a thousand stolen.
Teach them to rejoice in each others successes rather than envy. Teach them to have faith in God and to believe in themselves.
Remind them never to forget that they are masterpieces of the Creator, and none can replace the other.
Please, don’t forget to teach them that it is more honorable to fail than to cheat, and there is no shame in tears.

Teach them the difference between the real world and the world in the pages of magazines, movie screens and television.
Teach them the enduring powers of patience and kindness.
Teach them the endless powers of love and forgiveness.
Expose them to verities of colors of life and remind them to look beyond
skin colors to appreciate the blood of life.
Teach them the importance of a smile in the dark tunnels of life.
Teach them to be simple and truthful to themselves and to keep there distance from drugs.

Teach them to be respectful of life and elders that they may be respected.
Teach them our mother’s songs; tell them where we are, where we have been, where we are going and they will lead the way.

Copyright © Chidi Okoye |  2014

The Ostrich by Shadow Hamilton

A bird of grandiose stature, he struts the veld
do not anger him for his powerful kick
can main or even kill. Gently he watches
over his brood their mother left long ago.
It falls onto him to incubate their eggs.

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Photo credit: Jamie Angus

Impressive wing span as he shades his chicks
from the relentless midday scorching sun.
Watch those long legs hammering away
as he chases off  a rival who strays too close.

Yet for all his strength and size a pea of a brain
famous for hiding his head in the sand
as if it will make him invisible from sight,
he does look so weird bum stuck up in the air. 

Attracted by anything that glitters
he gobbles up all sorts of weird things.
Once tamed his joy is to run in races but rarely
in a straight line as he veers here and there,
oft times leaving mayhem in his wake.

As dusk falls he gathers up his brood
and struts off into the setting sun
his life is really quite a simple one
with freedom to roam the sunlit veld.

Copyright © Shadow Hamilton | Year Posted 2015

My Africa, Unite To Rewrite Your Story by Chuma Okonkwo

Africa; the land of great ancient myths
With culture diversified, but united mythos.
Traced to bear the ancestry of man
With the found evidence of modern humans.

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Africa; like a rule of dynasty bestrides the equator
And encircles diverse unending climate sector
Stretching in awe-inspiring from the North Temperate Zone
Exuding the composite satellite imagery to the Southern pole.

Africa; a resource-rich and second-largest continent
With abundant natural resources that makes it pertinent
To the international community, especially the West
Such that they always want her to be their conquest.

Africa; they much talk about her in the global arena
But always present a mirror image of her aura.
They envy her diamonds, gold, coal, cocoa, and crude oil
That they glow while she mangles herself in turmoil.

Africa; whose stories are always told in a horrible manner
And images portrayed like all she holds is poverty and hunger.
But we know Africa is fascinating, invigorating, and amazing
With her azure clouds and vivid green lands that are unending.

Africa; embossed in awe moist grayness and magnificent mountains
With swirling long-lasting waterfalls stimulating her fountains
And inter alia scenic view of hills and crystal beaches
That marvels the tourists, and geologists see her as a peach.

Africa; muddled in kleptomania that has left her in wanton hardship
And her people glued to delusions that wash up their craftsmanship
Such that they often let her down by being unable to see
The aura of mystery in her versatile resources given by nature for free.

Africa; still muddling through despite the variegated challenges she faces
Needs her people to be well articulated and embrace with a game face
The clarion call that the time is long overdue to unite to rewrite her stories
For only Africans can tell better the untold stories about Africa’s histories.

Africa; I look at the east, west, north, central and south
I hear; and I see the youths strutting; and yelling for change in loud shouts
For they’re tired of bad governments, rebels, militants, genocide and warring
For their future is not of hatred, food crisis, diseases, but devoid of suffering.

Copyright © Chuma Okonkwo | Year Posted 2013