By Chamberlain Dre.
The evening was calm and smooth. I walked onto the stage in the dim-lit bar as it was my turn to perform poetry. I tried as much as I could to make my performance memorable, so, I asked the audience to give me a hint on what to talk about. Then, a woman said, “Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.” For a while, I stayed silent, collecting my thoughts. When it began to flow, I answered in a steady voice:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. The well from which your laughter rises is oftentimes filled with your tears. The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is it not the cup that holds your wine and water, the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth, you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.” But I say to you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed. You are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at standstill. When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, your joy or sorrow must rise or fall.
When I was done, the bar was silent. I could hear my heart beating rapidly against my chest. I could hear a pin drop. Then, the snapping of fingers began, a salute to my broken words. The same woman said again after the bar had resumed its silence, “Speak to us about what scares you.”
My depressive nihilism kicked in; my chronophobia reared its ugly head, taunting me in front of my audience. At first, I thought, everything scares me. There are days when I feel everything and nothing at all. The emptiness pauses me, it shuts the door on my creativity. Then, I think of Amba, Mae, and Arese, and I begin to write. My words reflect everything I feel and don’t feel; everything that is and isn’t. I take everything that passes through me and make it into something else, something completely new. The heartbreaks, the fear of the future, my mom’s prayers, Chisom’s dry jokes, and the dollars my elder brother promised me. At that moment, I have complete control over my little universe. There is a world out there more vibrant than I ever imagined. I was hopeless, but now I am healing. Whatever scares me does not matter, not when I feel a thousand capacities arising in me.
About The Writer: Chamberlain Dre is a final year student at Abuja University, Nigeria. He is a spoken word artist and a rapper. He specializes in writing articles, poetry, scripted plays, short stories, and prose works. Instagram @chamberlaindre_ |Twitter @ chamberlaindre4 |Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Picture retrieved from Pinterest.