Titled The Psalmist Creed, emerging poet Asford Psalms’ weekly poetry column consists selected poems from his yet-to-be-released debut collection.
Here is “Songs from the Dead”:
Once ago, I was body and soul.
Once ago, my body was whole.
Now as I speak, I have no body to hold my floating soul.
Because I live, no more!
Once ago I was healthy and bold.
Now as I sing, I feel hefty and cold.
But the reverse also holds.
Now! I live, no more.
Long ago, I was my own gold.
Precious (and) with greed; I made some friends and I made some foes.
Now! I live, no more.
Sometime ago, I made my own stories.
Whether true or not, I might have worried.
For the nots, I say, “I’m sorry.”
But I live no more.
And I wish I had time; to do more.
Once ago, I thought I was rich.
Rich like weed; I had nothing to need.
But now as I speak, I need somebody to turn my broken bones; so I see my coffen in a whole.
Sometime ago, I was so very poor.
Now as I sing, I have no worries.
Because I see the rich man’s storey; right next to me.
And now, he smiles no more!
Long time ago, I was a mother of three.
Each time they meet, I thought they were beasts.
Because they knew how to make my heart bleed.
I knew no peace.
But as I speak, I live in silence of my grief.
How I wish to hear their noise, some more.
But now, I live, no more!
Once ago, I was also a mother.
I nutured with ease.
Even there was no father.
I want to see; my kids go very further.
But as I speak, I live no further.
Murdered in the heat of cold blood weather.
And I live no more.
But I know; they can do;
Some time ago, I was just but a father.
I led with love, just like their mama.
It makes me grief.
Coz I can’t lead no longer.
But I am at peace.
Coz I left a great ladder.
To make them see the blue bright weather.
To make them fly; with bright coloured feathers.
I am at peace.
Even though I live no more.
But I know I could do more.
Long time ago, I was also a father.
I wish I stayed, even much more longer.
I made mistakes and I denied their mother.
On my death day, my corpse was on leash.
And here I am; I really know no peace.
Even on my tablet, not a single reef.
Once ago, I was almost among the living.
I wish I saw my father or my mother except for her inner.
My journey was cut short by an act they thought was the best for them.
Now I’m here with a friend and a brother I met here.
Long ago, I had some days; to live on earth.
And I thought it was my place of grace; my haven.
But I had to leave.
For some reason, I was called back.
The old people over here taught me how to speak.
Here right now, I sing in unison with the little ones over here; It really saddens us that we live no more!
Once ago I was a preacher.
My call was ample but death had me here in a twinkle.
I know my will is done; and my father above, is happy to call me a son.
Sometime ago I was a teacher.
My call was simple but not all those I thought were to twinkle.
But now! As I speak, I wish I had time to do more.
Long ago, I was a robber.
My job was simple.
And I was to swindle.
I made my wealth.
But time paid me a prank as a welch.
But now as I sing, I wish I had time to spend my money and steal much more!
Once ago I was a farmer.
My crops were rice, fruits and roots.
I had a delight; for I fed the nation with pride.
But now I live no more.
And I wish I had time to do more.
Sometime ago I was a lawyer.
I loved the law so my son was a soldier.
Once ago, I was an escort.
Not that I loved what I did.
Bad situations made me choose this bid.
And I died in my early mid.
Once ago, I was an artiste.
I made sweet songs that the world will always sing along.
My body lives no more.
But at least, my voice; on record, lives for all.
Sometime ago, I was a student.
I only wanted some bread.
So I went to see the baker.
On my way back, my life ended- sooner than later.
Sometime ago, we went for an occasion.
And on the highway, our lives ended, like in a sad play.
Once ago, we were among the living.
We wish our voice could be heard in this song.
But it will be too long.
We wish we could send greetings to our loved ones and those we wronged.
We had our chance but death said, “enough! come into my open arms.”
Even though some of us here really wanted to die, some of us too wish for a day, just to watch life tell us some of its sweet lies.
If you are among the living, you are fortunate.
We, over here, are so in pain.
Just for a simple day back on earth is what we pray.