Poems by Kabedoopong Piddo Ddibe’st

Poems by Kabedoopong Piddo Ddibe’st
Elegy To My Country
(For Dr. Stella Nyanzi )
We whose bloods water this land
And sweats fall in a tearful libation
From full hollowness of laughs and
Yet the bell rings for another liberation
From the liberator that liberated
Himself but us, who stand serrated.
Sixty years have perished but in vain
Watching faces that bring us nightmares
Feeding on a sick state we water with pain;
Little by little, corner by corner the spirited hares
Stand unmoved, as we watch the starless night
Expecting the long-awaited birth of the light.
We are all but becoming a history
Historic monuments stand to greet
Us in tears as we write our life-story;
Six hundred years ago today stood to meet
What we meet, with great hearts and ready hands,
Full faith, love and hope upon their lands.
The leprosy has eaten up the land
Whose strong nerves to her far sight,
And strong nerves to her diligent hand
Have lost their once strength and light,
And now limps with walking-sticks to freedom
Sixty years still a suckling, crawling to that freedom.
The leprosy has eaten up the land
Whose nerves to stand on her two feet
Have lost their strength to stand,
With the blooming guns and boots on streets,
Inventing poetry that please their pus-drooping daddy,
Sixty years still begging, eating crumbs to survive for that liberty.
The leprosy has eaten up the land
For she has lost her simple ways of life,
Borrowed wigs of learning and sticks of hands
Corona of corruption, crocodiles of strife
Drawned in depths of the pools of flood,
Sixty years later, we’ve only watered petals of blood.
The leprosy has eaten up the land
Whose sense to ears and feeling
Have become dumb and numb;
Darkness looming, blood blooming
Bleeding from the bitter tree of liberty
Sixty years still a baby, crying for breast milk of liberty
Drunk to the last drop by the greedy babysitter.
Listen, you my revolutionary still small voice in the dark,
Where they fell the giant trees in eyeless nights,
With titles and promotions, then trite remarks,
Now is the time to raise your beams of lights
In the pelting March of Ides and silent storms,
Sixty years now, all we’ve gathered are greedy worms.
Listen, daughters of the beautiful land,
Listen to the great trombones of God,
A divided house can never stand,
We must rise though they strike us with rods,
We must weave the war dance of the lands,
We who walk ashamed of our fingerless hands.
Mother Earth
For Janice McCue, South Carolina
Mother Earth,
I speak to you
The Queller of my Wrath
Upon the obstinate chicks
Upon God’s own body,
Mother Earth,
I hear you
When you speak to me,
Your words of wisdom softer than oil
And sweeter than honey,
Love is your anthem,
I take you for love itself.
I shall not speak to you
In metaphors of the hills,
You are the mother hen,
Clucking to its children;
Children first, you last,
In the rush hour…
I see you scratch soil,
I hear you call your children
To your warmth and love,
You are a hungry lioness feeding her cubs.
What can I liken you to,
I liken you to a mother hen!
When a caring mother hen
Discovers her eggs are touched,
Does she sulk
And abandon her hatching nest,
Or she angers but still sits back
On her eggs till they hatch?
Or if some of her eggs slip off her reach
Of care,
Does she, a wise mother hen,
Trembling with anger-filled beak,
Strike her eggs
And drink them up,
Or she still gathers them back
Within her reach of warmth and love,
And covers them up
Till they hatch into running chicks?
Or even if she hatches
The egg of a guinea fowl among her chicks,
Does she chase it away?
No, she feeds them all alike,
Knowing the pangs of birth and motherhood
Are all the same—
All painful and blood-letting,
And she doesn’t care the colors of her chicks,
After all, all are chicks, not colors.
Or if she hears one
Of her very blood cries
Outside her wings in depth of night,
Does she kick her further away?
No, she will call her in urgency,
Or she herself,
Knowing the pain of birth and motherhood,
She will leave the rest awhile,
Seek her whereabouts,
And gather back her lost one first,
Then returning,
Struck with a thousand cares,
Covers them all at once
While she herself,
Naked and shivering,
Squats upon her chicks
Till the break of the day,
And the cycle continues…
Mother Earth,
When we speak,
We hear us speak…
© Kabedoopong Piddo Ddibe’st

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