David Harid redefines Christian poetry


Elliot Ziwira @ The Book Store

There is a constant reminder that this world is not our home, as the crooner Jimmy Reeves sings in “Across the Bridge”, and Christians intone in their hymns.

David Harid’s poetry anthology, “Curl up in my Pearls” (2012) published by Esquire Publications (USA), is a stitch-up of episodes in the individual’s travails in a world burdened by its own shortcomings to worry about his or her aspirations.

Thus, the overwhelmed individual seeks solace in spirituality as the struggle for identity intensifies.

Though the anthology is Harid’s debut effort, it is a powerful reminder of the mortality of Man notwithstanding his self-glorifying nature, hypocrisy, avarice and callous inclinations.

As a Christian poet, the artiste questions the essence of materialism in a world devoid of spiritual wealth.

Using his own experiences, the poet purveys a plethora of concerns which draw in the reader to the universality of expectation and suffering.

David Harid was born in Harare in 1975 and did his primary school at Greystone Park Primary School before moving on to Vainona High School for his O-Levels.

He then went to Chinhoyi High School for his Advanced Level education where his poetic voice was given impetus.

He currently lives in Kwekwe with his family.

As a Christian, he has always wanted to impart to others how the Christian God is able to change lives if one opens his heart for Him.

His spiritual mentor, Bob Adams, from the United Kingdom offered him an opportunity to have his voice find audience by helping him to have his poetry published.

Although he is inspired by the virtual world of computers, which has prompted the new project he is working on “Crimson Blade” which is a comic book, expected at the Bookstore by the end of the year, Harid maintains his religious conviction.

“I want to put more perspective on the spiritual world, as a Christian, that the heroes who believe in God are invariably every day heroes in all walks of life,” he maintains.

However, in spite of his beliefs, the poet is conscious of the mores and values that shape the African discourse as he says: “There is a trilogy that I am working on called ‘Hidden Covenant’ and I have finished the first book.”

It’s about a family that gradually learns and suffers from its lack of knowledge in their traditions and past; but eventually come out right.

“It is a trilogy that I hope every African and non-African can relate to.”

Reading “Curl up in my Pearls” one gets the feeling that there is nothing much to look forward to in life, especially when there is so much suffering, with pain and tears the order of the day.

There is a constant reminder that this world is not our home, as the crooner Jimmy Reeves sings in “Across the Bridge”, and Christians intone in their hymns. There is a kind of fatalism that defeats the whole purpose of living which sometimes makes Christian literature cumbersome.

In the poem “No More Tears”, the poet implores the seeking of hope across the bridge: “Cry no more … no more tears no more sorrow./The fight is over no more light to see/The breeze comes over to refresh you, whispering songs of sounds unknown/You sing along and create your own tune/Soon you will be home…soon to peace./ What is flesh won’t last…the spirit moves on/Back to the source where we will all return…/No more tears, no more heartaches, no more pain…my work is done/Cry no more.”

The constant reminder of death somehow dampens the spirit, as one finds himself or herself adrift in a no man’s land as in “Adrift” , or exposed to the vagaries of both man and nature in “Quest” and caught up in a vicious circle as in “Circle”.

However, this juxtaposition of life and death is an indication that mortal Man is only a passing shadow if he does not seek substance in his creator. There is no permanence in materialism, neither is there wealth in mere existence; all is vanity. No matter how we may want to project it, life is as indiscernible as it is futile, and death the leveller, is as final as it is certain.

The philosophy of life curtails the individual to struggle for a purpose and to understand that he or she is just a grain of sand that can be blown away at any time, but that same grain is equally important in shaping both the physical and metaphysical aspects of life.

Suffering is real, poverty has always been there and Man has always been dark at heart as the biblical allusion in “On the Road to Damascus” aptly captures; but is everything doomed? Is there no hope for the common man besides the way of the grave? Is it not possible to smile or make others smile?

As the poet sees it, indeed there is hope, only when we search our hearts for that missing link; the spiritual link. There is hope in the Lamb of Glory; there is so much hope in love; so much more in giving each other a chance, instead of fretting over material gains, as is portrayed in the title poem “Curl up in my Pearls”.

In “Prayer” the poet highlights the futility of wealth unsanctioned by God, because it is just “wallet wealth”, which is ephemeral, unlike riches begotten from the Throne, as is illustrated in the following lines: “The deep cries echo in this lonely planet/What riches I had or was it just money in a wallet?/Like the flash of lightning I had seen my empire rise to the sky/But just as quickly as it rose ,reality came and told me that it was just a lie.”

The rationale of the vanity of materialism and the quest for fruition through the Lord’s grace, also obtain in “The Gate Keepers” and “The Two Witnesses”. However, regardless of his spirituality, Harid is conscious of how the church can be used as a pedestal to material gain and the proliferation of deification.

Hypocrisy in today’s Church is on the rise as the language of money ensures from the pulpits, and caught up in this web is the poor and seemingly gullible congregant, who is so hard done that he/she seeks a miraculous way out of his or her plight.

The anthology also purveys the power of love against adversity, social ills like immorality as well as unity of purpose in nation building.

The poem “AIDS” implores society to uphold the mores and virtues that shape individuals so that literal and metaphorical ills are averted. Individuals are usually drawn to the snare of the seductive “naked” woman who “parades” herself in “the light or dark streets”, because of carnal desires, yet everyone who takes her to bed is only a victim of her whims, because she is diseased.

She is a kind of community well from which belly everyone draws water, and the poisoned chalice that she has become, leads to malice, death, anger, frustration and despondency as the entire community is afflicted.

The poet adeptly depicts the double-pronged nature of love, as both soothing and suturing. To love is to be prepared to be hurt, for there is a thin line between love and hurt. Those whom we love the most are usually the ones who hurt us the most, yet we still seek love and love even more despite our past hurts; such is the nature of love.

We do not seem to learn from past experiences, or maybe we learn from those hurtful experiences that true love exists and that there is need for compromise and tolerance. One is always spurred on by the possibility of finding true love somewhere in the universe, regardless of all that one might have gone through.

Love is such a wonderful thing, so it seems; so why then are divorces surging, there is so much domestic violence and crimes of passion are scaling?

David Harid’s “Curl up in my Pearls” (2012) is indeed a must read for both Christians and non-Christians alike,as the poems transcend religious boundaries.

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