Poems by Kabedoopong Piddo Ddibe’st

Poems by Kabedoopong Piddo Ddibe’st


This is my Home

This pit is mine,
The dustbin is mine,
My friend.

This is mine,
The drum is mine,
Fellow scavenger.

This is mine,
The dunged sewage,
Fellow fatherless.

This is mine,
The rich man’s leftover,
Fellow motherless.

I fight the dogs,
I fight the cats,
I fight boys and girls.
Uncuff me, Uncuff me,
He removed my crumb.

Know this is mine,
The pit, the dustbin,
The sewage, the crumbs;
Even if they’re rotten,
Leave them alone.

I was born here,
Thrown in the pit,
They legalized it;
This is my home,
Fellow ghetto child.


The Black Mother’s Pride

She is black,
She is a woman,
She is proud!
What a pride!
What a pride she’s in her daughter!

Her only life
Her only joy
Her only daughter
Her only pride.
What a pride!
What a pride she’s in her daughter!

She wants her to behave,
Behave well.
What is a child
If she’s no ears?
Akumu is now twelve.
Her mother knows she’ll make a good woman,
Like herself.
She fences Akumu
From the fishing rods of hungry men,
Young and old.

Akumu is fourteen!
She wants her to grow
Into a pillar of fire,
Burning her way
Through the thick thorns of salivating men,
The sowers of thorns,
Young and old.

Akumu is sixteen!
Her mother wants her dreams
Of doctoring,
Of engineering,
Of lawyering,
Of judging,
Of teaching
Turned into a reality —
Escaping the snares of hunters
Watching her pass by,
Like lions in ambush,
Young and old.

Nothing more joyous
Than seeing her
Only daughter
Know the ways
Of her olden days
That savoured life:
In her dressing code,
Not the ‘Daddy-Close-Your-Eyes’,
Not the ‘See-Me-Through’;

In her natural beauty,
Not the artificial beauty;
Not the face of a Guinea fowl,
Not the legs of a leopard,
Not the body of a cheetah,
Not the thighs of a wild cat,
Not the lips of a lion
That has just preyed on an antelope,
Not the fingernails of the Lucifer,
And not the hair of the dead whites.

In her kneeling down,
Not greeting people with her feet,
Not groaning greetings in her throat;
Not serving old people with her feet.

In talking politely,
Not talking down men,
— That when her husband speaks once,
She speaks ten times her husband;
Not barking like a mad dog
At the son of man
— That she is the husband of the man,
Her husband!
Young men and old…

Except seeing her
Bleed without the impurities of men;
Doing her class works
And humiliating boys in class,
The sons of men,
Men who once placed themselves to privileges
And backed down women homes…

Except seeing her wear
The crown of knowledge
From distinct institutions:
From Makerere,
From Kyambogo,
From GULU…
Despite all masculine odds…

Akumu is eighteen.
Her mother wants her daughter
To cut her coat according to her clothe
Because she is a single mother,
Her father’s life
Was taken away by the infamous
Northern Wars of Opuk Republic.
That she wants her
Grow like Pobo tree,
Slender, beautiful in character;
Not gold digging the pockets of men,
Young and old.

She wants her daughter
To come out with a Degree
From a distinct institution:
From Makerere,
From Kyambogo,
From GULU;
Ready to face the world
Of work!
Jobs that are not an exchange
Of her revered skin for job
From the flirting Boss.

Akumu is eighteen,
Her mother wants her
To build a house upon her,
And knock down the leaking mud walled huts…

She wants her daughter
To get a responsible man,
Not one that tastes and leaves,
Not one that hits and runs,
Not one that scores and runs to celebrate off-field,
But one ready to pay the bride price,
And enrich Acoli culture.

She wants her to multiply
Till she fills the world
And spreads grand children around her,
Like seas of sands,
As they live blissfully thereafter.


The Blood of Anthills

In what tempestuous Night
Do these silent voices hide
That some to ceaseless Night
Are born, with lifeless pride?

In what darkly blood of anthills
Obtained, maintained at supreme
At weaklings’ cost, reigning still;
When is the dawn, dear extreme?

It is a long way home,
For death takes us all there;
Not yet Uhuru, what way to freedom
Than that each of us be a liberator?

In what dark Africa’s Night
Under their talons and hawk-eyes
Do we escape their kisses of delight,
Flags at bay, iron to melt the ice?

It is a long way home,
Friend; Grim Reaper takes us there;
All roads lead us to Rome,
Blood leads them to throne here.

©Kabedoopong Piddo Ddibe’st



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