The fires in our eyes once shone brilliantly.
Burning with merciless vigour;
Ravenously, eating up everything standing in its path.
We barely slept because the heat of the fire
Made sleep uncomfortable, impossible.
We barely slept because we feared that while unconscious
The fire might consume us too, innards then flesh.
We looked with arrogant pity at those gone before,
10, 20, 30 years post-call,
Who in their eyes, we saw, instead of fire, flickering embers,
Their fires quenched by the realities of the trade;
Eyes dull, eye balls only glistening in moments of remembrance of the days gone before
When they could forego food, shelter and even life itself,
For the love of the profession.
We looked with scorn and disdain at those gone before
10, 20, 30 years post-call
Who have in their eyes the dull green colour of currency notes.
No flickering embers,
Eyes dull as though hypnotised, slavish in their pursuit of money.
‘These ones have sold their souls’ we laughed mirthlessly.
‘What do they know about the law, the common man, and justice?’
Where is the love of the profession?
But experience, they say, is the best teacher,
And learn we did,
That the fire burning in us while we burned the midnight candle,
That fire that kept us hungry, yet no food could fill us,
That kept us passionate and judgmental,
That kept us intrigued and blissfully naive,
That fire soon gets enveloped in a wave of reality
When we realise that passion isn’t always the sole criterion,
Neither is qualification nor knowledge alone.
So in that wave, the fire is snuffed out for many,
Buried deep in the seabed of responsibilities.
And then we learn to look without arrogance in our pity,
For how can one be arrogant towards oneself?
And lose our scorn and gain reverence for those whose eyes are dull and green.
For is it not the comfortable place to bear the pain of regret?
We drop the naivety invariably attached to passion?
The naivety that things can change and we can change them
Just by the power of hungry hearts….
We learn the way the world works,
We humble ourselves,
And for the love of the profession
Hope that the jackets of our suits match the trousers,
And that the soles of our feet, while in our shoes,
Are not intimate with the soil on which we walk
So that we have reasons to walk dignified on the streets
While people hail ‘the law’.
So that they don’t snigger and point their lips at us
While we shuffle past, under the sweaty armpits of a yellow bus driver
Into our designated corner in the bus.
So that we never get to hear the words
‘The Law, your money no complete again o.’
OMA & IKUKU*
*I met Ikuku at Law School and at first he was just my fitness buddy, till he checked me out on facebook and discovered this blog. He couldn’t understand why I wasn’t writing anymore (I couldn’t either). I spent the rest of Law School avoiding him because the first thing he wanted to know each time he saw me was when next I would write. 3 Years post-call, it is still the same. Each whatsapp message and each call is started with his encouragement and bullying that I write something and ended with (many failed) promises to write something that week. The few times I have written within this time, he is the first to comment and to send his love and encouragement. I have been afraid and lazy to write recently, but I wrote this with Ikuku because he deserves not to have his heart broken again by another failed promise. Thank you Ikuku for being there. Here is to hoping that the fires in our eyes for the love of the profession and our friendship keep burning for the rest of our lives.