The Chronicle Gambia

In Tranquility

Some sat, others stood, a few danced around the fire, faces gleaming orange and soft. A chilly breeze blew in from the river and I hugged my sweater tighter to myself, recovering from the flu.

The fire in the middle, bellowed with pride, energetic, excited, in youthful glee, even as it gets closer to death – to soot and ash.

The fire lives in the moment, and as it lives, it blows flowers into the dark night.

The flowers, fiery delicate things, to be admired by the person in the crowd who sits in tranquility, observing the eerily sad beauty of it all.

Looking as the flowers float up, spinning around with the smoke in wide, unchecked spirals. Hopeful, reaching up, glowing red against the moonless night. Often one reaches higher that the others, basks in triumph for a split second, only to spin slowly back down and get swallowed by the darkness before it settles on the ground.

No different from the other less far reaching fiery flowers.

While we dance, we worship, but we miss the lessons that can only be learnt in tranquil observation, but the one who sits will not know the joy of the dance. So we must dance much, and we must also sit in beautiful solitude. We must look up more, we must stare more, at nothingness and at the things that can only be observed in tranquility.


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  1. Marabi Amfaal Hydara says

    Break the shackle

    Don’t be fooled by me.
    Don’t be fooled by the face I wear
    for I wear a mask, a thousand masks,
    masks that I’m afraid to take off,
    and none of them is me.

    Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me,
    but don’t be fooled,
    for God’s sake don’t be fooled.
    I give you the impression that I’m secure,
    that all is sunny and unruffled with me, within as well as without,
    that confidence is my name and coolness my game,
    that the water’s calm and I’m in command
    and that I need no one,
    but don’t believe me.
    My surface may seem smooth but my surface is my mask,
    ever-varying and ever-concealing.
    Beneath lies no complacence.
    Beneath lies confusion, and fear, and aloneness.
    But I hide this.
    I don’t want anybody to know it.
    I panic at the thought of my weakness exposed.
    That’s why I frantically create a mask to hide behind,
    a nonchalant sophisticated facade,
    to help me pretend,
    to shield me from the glance that knows.

    But such a glance is precisely my salvation, my only hope,
    and I know it.
    That is, if it’s followed by acceptance,
    if it’s followed by love.
    It’s the only thing that can liberate me from myself,
    from my own self-built prison walls,
    from the barriers I so painstakingly erect.
    It’s the only thing that will assure me
    of what I can’t assure myself,
    that I’m really worth something.
    But I don’t tell you this.
    I don’t dare to, I’m afraid to.
    I’m afraid your glance will not be followed by acceptance,
    will not be followed by love.
    I’m afraid you’ll think less of me,
    that you’ll laugh, and your laugh would kill me.
    I’m afraid that deep-down I’m nothing
    and that you will see this and reject me.

    So I play my game, my desperate pretending game,
    with a facade of assurance without
    and a trembling child within.
    So begins the glittering but empty parade of masks,
    and my life becomes a front.
    I idly chatter to you in the suave tones of surface talk.
    I tell you everything that’s really nothing,
    and nothing of what’s everything,
    of what’s crying within me.
    So when I’m going through my routine
    do not be fooled by what I’m saying.
    Please listen carefully and try to hear what I’m not saying,
    what I’d like to be able to say,
    what for survival I need to say,
    but what I can’t say.

    I don’t like hiding.
    I don’t like playing superficial phony games.
    I want to stop playing them.
    I want to be genuine and spontaneous and me
    but you’ve got to help me.
    You’ve got to hold out your hand
    even when that’s the last thing I seem to want.
    Only you can wipe away from my eyes
    the blank stare of the breathing dead.
    Only you can call me into aliveness.
    Each time you’re kind, and gentle, and encouraging,
    each time you try to understand because you really care,
    my heart begins to grow wings–
    very small wings,
    very feeble wings,
    but wings!

    With your power to touch me into feeling
    you can breathe life into me.
    I want you to know that.
    I want you to know how important you are to me,
    how you can be a creator–an honest-to-God creator–
    of the person that is me
    if you choose to.
    You alone can break down the wall behind which I tremble,
    you alone can remove my mask,
    you alone can release me from my shadow-world of panic,
    from my lonely prison,
    if you choose to.
    Please choose to.

    Do not pass me by.
    It will not be easy for you.
    A long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.
    The nearer you approach to me the blinder I may strike back.
    It’s irrational, but despite what the books say about man
    often I am irrational.
    I fight against the very thing I cry out for.
    But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls
    and in this lies my hope.
    Please try to beat down those walls
    with firm hands but with gentle hands
    for a child is very sensitive.

    Who am I, you may wonder?
    I am someone you know very well.
    For I am every man you meet
    and I am every woman you meet.

    © Marabi Amfaal Hydara
    The Humanitarian Poet

    1. Ya Mallen Jagne says

      Thank You Marabi.. This is amazing.

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