The Word

Portrait of Saint Augustine of Hippo receiving the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, by Philippe de Champaigne, 17th century
I look to you.
I look to you.
I look to you.

My words rise and fall,
pressured by weights too heavy.

When words fail
I look to you.
Let your word carry what I can't.

Your word pierces soul and spirit,
judging thoughts of the heart.
My words rise and fall.
Let your word carry what I can't.

Your word is alive and active,
turning darkness to light.
Your word is alive and active,
creating things not yet seen.

Wandering Heart

Conversion of Saint Augustine, Fra Angelico, 1430
O wandering heart of mine,
I trace your tracks up this hill
but I do not see where you go.
Day and night you wander,
paying little heed to burnout.
Across all entrances and exits
you dash simultaneously,
drifting unreservedly.
I trace your movements 
but only find traces 
of questions you leave behind.
I cannot understand your tracks,
they are unimaginably complex.
I cannot number your steers,
they are infinite in number.
You disperse in prideful splendour
to flounder in collective shatter.
Your pride-filled ways mislead,
moving but going nowhere precise.
Your words are multi-minded,
yet you push to enforce your will.
You wail with outbursts of desire,
yet, en route your solo dash, 
you desire nothing ultimately meaningful.

Eternal New Day

Eternity in our Hearts, by Charis Psallo
To turn my hurt to life.
I sit and contemplate.
Could it be, a reason for every hurt,
every mixed conflict,
moment of pain,
sorrow and disillusionment,
is eternal glory?
Eternal glory that outweighs hurt
and transforms to life?

I pause and contemplate.
I try to fix my eyes on what is eternal 
but struggle.

Lord, 
be a banner over me
and take me to the place you want me.
Like a leaf that falls and dillydallies mid-air,
I too dream to land on gentle waters, 
that purify the soul
and unravel a renewed horizon 
of hope onto a new day.

On ‘Coincedence’

Still of Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction (1994). Directed by Quentin Tarantino.
Why did this happen?
This happens, that happened.
I don't understand why that happened.
I would be fooling myself,
speaking out of utter arrogance 
if I claimed to understand why it did.
If my choice was mildly out of place,
I would be in a different place now.
A different place may produce a different outcome,
a different outcome may produce a different life.
What if I made a different choice?
In my pursuit of truth, I stumble upon 
a realisation of human finitude.
I don't get to make all choices 
so I don't get to see all things.
I don't get to see all things
so I don't get to know all things.
I feel humbled as I return where I started.
I'll no longer ask why it happened,
I'll simply acknowledge that it did.

On Desire

Sandro Botticelli: fresco of St. Augustine
St. Augustine, fresco by Sandro Botticelli, 1480; in the Church of Ognissanti, Florence.
PicturesNow/UIG/age fotostock
I wonder what it is about desire
that swivels within layers of layers.
I unfold and unfold but I find more layers.
I contemplate upon these layers 
but I find unfolding questions.
Were I to put into words what I see,
I would remain stuck in a standstill.
Yet desire ravages on the inside,
yearning to be expressed.
I lay me down in silence 
and stillness of thought.
I hold onto what I do not see.
I say to myself,
I will wait for you.

What is Faith?

IMG_1391

Faith is a topic of interest for myself and many others. I was interested in bringing people from different cultural and religious backgrounds to discuss this. Represented in this discussion are Irish, Greek, British, Indonesian and Nigerian nationalities. And Christian, Muslim, Atheist and Agnostic beliefs.

This discussion features perspectives from David Adeola, Dionysios Deligiannis, Mabel Alkali, Farhana Lunat, Anna Hetherington, Andi Rusyaidi, Lanaire Aderemi and Emmanuel Johnson.

Please see links below to stream our download or audio discussion.

 

Stream

Download

The ‘what if’ factor

Powerful moment in history, is now. 
The 'what if' factor is the lifesaver
I wish to write on,
in a humble attempt to express
its power and influence 
in everyday affairs.

Powerful moment in history, is now,
as I step out to interact with those
I attempt to avoid but cannot do without.
What if, I was wrong to avoid them in the first place? 
I now contemplate as I am shown
something too magnificent to express in words,
by those I attempted to avoid.

By Emmanuel Johnson

The nature of days

These days,
I see things take a turn here
and another there.
The straight path which once was 
creates ever-forming interlinks
I now try to make sense of.
I am conflicted.
My observation of its nature keeps me 
perplexed, as I see same and others 
hide beneath the same mask.
In the final analysis,
I realise a dedication
to get to the root of this,
and prevailing situations,
which obstruct my search,
as I continually seek meaning.

By Emmanuel Johnson

Being a PhD Student – My Experience 5 Months In

I’m a PhD student at Coventry University Centre for Global Learning: Education and Attainment, exploring Identity and Belonging, and the role of Faith in International Students’ Study. My experience at the start entailed developing better time-management, and familiarising myself with a higher standard of writing and knowledge expected at PhD level.

From a social viewpoint, the journey has been quite isolating. Socially, the University campus no longer looks like it did in the past. I find this experience new because, although I’m on a campus I am very familiar with, my focus has shifted onto a phase much higher than ever. For the first time academically, I have no ‘classmates’. This of course typifies the nature and essence of independent study. I have often compared my PhD to the idea of a marriage, and I would say to myself: ‘I’m married to my PhD and I’m more than willing to make it work!’. This, unexpectedly has boosted my motivation and drive to push on with a stronger sense of fervency and urgency.

I am currently writing my literature review. Sometimes I feel completely blank mentally; falter in will and struggle to maintain focus or generate ideas. At those times, I step out of my office and head to Holy Trinity Church which is nearby. As I’m a religious man, I sit down to pray, meditate and contemplate on matters close to my heart. Or, I take a walk around the University campus, take a seat; observe and pay close attention to my surroundings. This helps me greatly and refreshes my mind for the work ahead!

I try to achieve balance. I have discovered the need for it, whilst going through tons of readings very frequently. I participate in non-academic activities like social hangouts with friends, walks to the park, film watching and consumption, and involvement in social events.

I am glad to be here and cannot imagine doing anything else. That’s it for now, I have to get back to my literature review!