I’m Moushumi Ann Matthews. By heritage I’m Indian. My parents were born and brought up in India. I was born in Nigeria and then we moved to South Africa when I was quite young so I would call myself an African if you ask me where I’m from. I am a doctor – a medical doctor – by profession during the day and I like to joke that at night I’m a poet.
“Let me be a woman in all of my brokenness.
Let me fall when I cannot stand,
help me up when I need a hand,
forgive me when I know not how to admit my wrong
let me be a woman the way my God created me to be.”
My Journey as a Poet
So, I started writing poetry when I was about 12 years old. That was originally for a school competition and I realised that I really enjoyed having that as a form to think about and take out all of the emotions and thoughts that I had inside. When I became a Christian I found that the thing that you think about the most and where your heart is, is what comes out in poetry. And so since I’ve been a Christian I’ve been writing a lot of poetry about God and about the gospel. I find that I love doing that because it’s a wonderful way to use the talent that God has given me to take the gospel forward to those who might not know it.
“Choose to step out of this maze of circus mirrors
that the world puts up to distort your identity.
Dare to long for true validation in Him.”
I find that poetry reaches a very different crowd than the normal crowd which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes a difficult thing. But it is quite cool to be able to use something like poetry to talk about God and to engage people into conversations about Him.
“Your weakness is his voice calling in the wilderness.
Oh my heart you are not abandoned
He is present in every broken piece in each falling tear.
My failing body, He who knit you together in your mother’s womb
knows you better than you know yourself.”
‘Weakness’ is a very personal poem for me. It speaks a lot to my life experience. I have found in performing it and in sharing it that a lot of people connect to it. I think the walk of a Christian is one where we deal with so much weakness you realise how completely broken and sinful you are, and how being a part of this world means having to constantly fight with yourself, with sin, with with the devil. And you realise how weak you are for all of those fights. The beauty about ‘Weakness’ is it just draws me back to where my foundation is; to where my identity truly lies. Not in my weak form or my weak mind but in Christ himself.
“The greatest pain the separation of self from self.
The tearing apart of righteousness
in that moment the temple curtain was cleaved in two
top to bottom it was split.”
The Good Friday poem was actually the first poem that I wrote and performed at my local church and so it holds a very special place in my heart. There was nothing better to start with for me because I think Good Friday is the crux of the gospel. Thinking about what was done on the cross for us is just so immense and beautiful that it wasn’t easy to perform but it was very easy to write that poem. I often will cry when I when I perform that piece because that’s how it touches my heart. And what I’ve learned with my poetry is that if it touches my heart that is when it touches the hearts of others as well.
“He is risen
and with him I am raised from death to life.
No longer is my future to turn to dust
to be forgotten.”
So, ‘Sunday’ was written as a follow-up to the Good Friday poem because my Good Friday poem ends with Sunday is coming and for about two years now people have asked me so where’s the next one? What about the Sunday poem that should follow the Good Friday one? And so I’ve just recently written ‘Sunday’ and I think for me it encapsulates what Sunday is about. So, it’s not just about a tomb being opened and a man walking out of it. It is about the God of the universe being so committed to loving us that he chose to die on a cross. But not only that. The crux of the gospel, again, is that he rose from that death. He conquered death and that means that I have so much to look
forward to and that is why I wrote ‘Sunday’.
A Gift from God
“When the pigment is stripped from our skin
to reveal a blood that pulses the same crimson red
When our cultures are shown to be nothing more
than the social constructs of fallible men
who are you?
Who am I?
Poetry is a gift. It is a beautiful thing that God has given us – language. To use that gift for the gospel, I think, is just absolutely wonderful. We have a lot of musicians who use their gifts to praise God and I think it’s time for the poets to step up and to be doing the same thing. I love writing poetry but there is a power in speaking those words out. A lot of people don’t have the patience to sit and read poetry but a lot more people are willing to listen, and that is a beautiful tool that we can use to the glory of God