Above All Things.

Time is like the weather system. It has patterns, storm seasons with electric charges. Memory. The arctic wind brushes a molten sun making of it a golden drop of frozen gold. Breath beats the window in fists of furious fog. Come on summer time I say to myself. My eyes freeze as the world turns kaleidoscopic or into an Aferwerk Tekle painting.

I’m just a man mumbling on a street corner, “there’s a storm coming. A storm. Dust spits from the cliff tops into my river eyes forcing tears over the banks to flood me. I will not drown in them I will not drown.”. I am the guy drawing sunlight on the sidewalk each morning.

How do you do it said night
How do you wake and shine
I keep it simple said light
One day at a time

I am black. I am black like the wind. I am black like the heatwave. I am black like sunlight. I am black like still waters running deep and like shallow shadows at dawn.   Black and warm like the touch of velvet.  I am black like a fist unclenched. I am black like the onyx clasped in a gold  ring with the lion of Judah at its heart.

(Indigenous people do not, as a rule, define themselves by colour.  Indigenous Ethiopians in Ethiopia know themselves as Ethiopian and Indigenous English in England know themselves as English not as a colour. Therefore I am not black ) 

Time, to my mind, is the weather system of the heart with its  own chronometry unrelated to watches, clocks and digital timestamps. In my thinking time is in  the unknown source of Hemodynamics,  the rising nucleotides of generations.

I was born at night.  The night of  May 21st is my birthnight and I’ll travel to Manchester on my birthday and spend the late evening  at Godlee Observatory and from there  I’ll watch the stars.  By the time their light reaches my eyes the actual stars have long gone.  Its only light on the journey to my eyes which remains. That is a scientific fact.  So  I will look into the past for once and see it shining brightly and know above all things it is not there.

30 thoughts on “Above All Things.

  1. Thought provoking. Deep. The day needs the night, the night needs the day. We have one world. We need each other.
    Enjoy your birthday bathed in starlight!

  2. A night under the stars … sounds like a perfect way to spend a birthday! Sending love and best wishes your way x

  3. Happy birthday Lemn!!!
    Wishing you many….many more years FULL of: happiness, health, love, laughter, smiles, inspiring others and creativity of your amazing art.

  4. Happy birthday Lemn!
    Hope there are clear skies for your star gazing – sounds like a great way to spend an evening/reflect on the night of your birth.

    • The day started clear then at about five pm there was a horrendous downpour and just before we went to the observatory it all cleared. How good is that.

  5. Happy Birthday dear Lemn. Such a moving blog post. Thank you for your words, sorrow, strength and deep tenderness – your humanity, your poet’s heartfelt voice, the sensitivity of the poet.
    The light gives shade and without shade there is no light. May this year bring much joy and happiness to you. Taking it one day at a time is sound. Have you heard the expression I try to take one day at a time until several days attack me at once?! Keep on keeping on… Love and peace, Anna and Tony X

  6. Great thoughts beautifully lucid and lucent…(that’s a nice word that just popped into my mind!)

    And another…remembering Dylan Thomas (and actually, how exploited he was…I remember being shocked that knowing he had a drink problem but wanting to ‘get him to work’ the producers of the programme he was working for, locked him in a room with lots of alcohol and set him a deadline…when actually, he was just a human man, grown from a boy (young and easy in the apple boughs) and …the force that through the green fuse should keep us all alive and eternally above the things that try to make us less than human.

    Happy Birthday and keep on doing the things that keep you and the things that really matter, flourishing…

  7. The world is a better place because you arrived on that night of the 21st of May when it was dark. You are carrying that brilliant light from the past stars within you Lemn to make you the special person you are today . Celebrate your Day. Happy Birthday Lemn. Patricia .

  8. The world is a much better place because you arrived on that night of the 21st of May when it was dark Lemn. .You are carrying that brilliant light and power from many past stars within you to help make you the Special person you are today. Celebrate your Birth Day and many Happy Birhday wishes to you Lemn. Patricia. N. Ireland.

  9. Happy Peaceful Joyfilled 51st Birthday Dear Lemn Sissay.
    Receive gifts as you give them..freely courageously honestly Beautifully
    Thankyou for your Life and your Art and your Being

  10. I can’t read any thing you write without going in to deep. Happy birthday Lemn. You are one of the stars shining. Thank you for your beautiful writings.

  11. You share your birthday with my amazing granny…who brought so much sun into my life for the 16 years that I had her…now I’m 50…(and catching you up), her life still shines on mine. Shine bright Lemn…shine bright…xxx
    Happy 51st year

  12. I’ve been thinking about this since you posted it. This is beautiful and it is true, profoundly true.

    The past isn’t there, it’s still emitting it’s light. The light might even be beautiful. Can it? Can it possibly be beautiful? Maybe it got beautiful on the way to our eyes. Maybe our eyes flipped it. Sometimes I think the light emanating from my past might be beautiful. But I think it’s because the star itself is dead. I think it’s because it’s a very, very long way away from me now. Not a long way in time, but a long way in heart.

    My heart loves light, looks for it, seeks it out. Your heart does this too I think. Being open to the light that’s emanating from pain. It’s all light; it’ll warm you, it’ll restore you.

    Namaste Lemn, have a good weekend
    Much gratitude, Lara

  13. I am late to discover you and your poetry.
    I just saw you on “Hard Talk”- BBC
    Although I have written poetry for years
    I have found most modern poetry inaccessible.
    You and your words went straight in and through me.
    Thank you dear person, for being….

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