Poetry

Perfect Peace

People have consistently been asking me how I’ve been since I got baptised on the 23rd March.  I say it’s just been life, because it has been, but I haven’t really gone into it in-depth.  This poem, though, says everything.

If God were to take my breath from me today, I think I’d be content.
Laid back comfortably on the bed that is nothing but a source of joy
Listening to the songs that have warmed my soul.

Having become the director of an organisation and collated a collection of poems
Facilitated creative activities and gained friends from all walks of life,
Grown as a person and performed in a spoken word show
Found purpose, discovered myself and made my way into a career I love.

Most of all, I developed a beautiful relationship with my Creator, Saviour and King
Studied His word and had amazing conversations in abundance,
Became better through Him, before giving my life wholly to Him.

I’ve also poured myself out, over and over, rarely ever re-filled
Often barely standing or getting through the day,
Dreading minutes and hours I have to be among others, smiling in their faces.

Tired of being drawn from and pulled on by countless sources, expecting free labour consistent
Drained by the state of our contaminated world, forever breaking my heart
Exhausted from trying to remain happy and positive, everyone sees me beaming
Fatigued by friends who turn out not to be friends, repeatedly out-of-place;
I feel I may have reached my peak and am giving from an empty well
Cos I’m blind to envisioning, it’s covered in black, unable to see a future for myself.

I’m ready to embrace sweet sleep where I won’t be used, stressed or hurt
No longer tired of being tired and fighting with myself,
Won’t have to wrestle with not feeling good enough or that I’m insignificant on this earth
Because I’ll finally be at perfect peace; seeing, hearing, feeling     nothing.

Shaniqua Benjamin

Don’t Tell Me

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
When our laws are grounded in Ten Commandments,
words engraved in stone translated into ink on paper.
Even before rules were recorded, morality was expected –
Abel’s murder forced Cain into banishment,
Dinah’s rape, the tremor of a city’s fall,
Rebekah’s lies passed from generation to generation,
lessons in dishonesty not paying off.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
If we calked God’s carefully laid path,
disparity between rich and poor would cease to be a national crisis.
Greed alleviated, generosity weighing heavier,
equilibrium reached through sharing at centre.
Not convinced?
Leviticus 25; Deuteronomy 15 or 24 will fill you in.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
Keeping Sabbath holy benefits health,
time to recharge between weeks.
Constantly grinding kills our batteries, shutting down bodies unexpectedly quick.
Powered by moments of reflection, fellowship with others,
plugged into rest away from hustle of working days.
Did you know it’s linked to Loma Linda’s famed longevity of living?

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
Foretold prophecies in Daniel and Revelation already come to pass;
others to be fulfilled in earth’s enduring story,
drawing near to its closing chapter.
Behaviours lined up in Matthew 24 and 2 Timothy 3 brought to life around us –
hearts gone cold, love for money verging on obsession,
disobedience to parents ramped to rebellion.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
Its influence glaring through film and television screens,
jumping off pages of fiction books – it has everything.
A hero tasked with saving the world,
betrayals of brothers, partners, friends.
Stories of redemption, romance, wisdom, war,
drunkenness ending in mistakes, polygamy ending in hurt.
Tales of actions supernatural, deep family bonds,
consequences of wrongs committed, mistreatment of those deemed different.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
Poetry and song hum from its verses,
prayer and praise run throughout.
Battle between faith and works not just for our time – religion blocking relationship.
Women showing bravery, intelligence, resilience
Men showing sacrifice, tenacity, strength –
Two wholes to become one, equally supporting the other.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant.
It’s provided comfort and hope,
Taught me right from wrong,
Advised how to live the best life,
Laid out inspiration in Jesus’ example of perfection.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant
without having read a page of it.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant
because you cannot comprehend it.

Don’t tell me the Bible is irrelevant
because you’ve chosen not to believe in it.

Shaniqua Benjamin

Restoring Humanness to the Homeless

Talking to people like they’re people has morphed into a foreign concept for some.

Believing words need to be contorted from lips when bestowed
on those in a contrary situation to yours.
May as well inscribe the headline,
“No roof overhead strips you of humanity”
A story filled with anecdotes of invisibility, disconnect and interactive inability.

Don’t hide behind being insensitive,
Anyone with awareness and care will know not to put a foot in a muddy puddle and splash it in another’s face.
Fear of insensitivity, an excuse used to escape interaction
outside of moments that interaction’s door is not closed altogether,
shutting them out, when what is desired is to be let in to a sense of normality –
What is needed to be fed into every headline, so it ceases to be news reported.

No longer alien territory,
speaking to people in adverse conditions, like they are people, becomes home in your mouth,
Reacting to them as you would anyone else.
Reviving their feeling of humanity that had been lost in statistics
they had no hand in constructing.