Monday, 9 May 2011

Month of May


Month of May gets me so uneasy
You see, as a child you are woken up
Even before Jesus
To go till the farm
Weed finger-sized maize
Loam soil gets stuck on hoe
You keep removing it
Millet porridge for some reason
Is not there by 11 a.m

As you dig, dad keeps saying
“You see that thorn tree T-H-E-R-E?”
“we must weed till there”
Thorn tree is VERY far
 (trust my judgment )
You dig, you dig, you dig
Then sometimes in Mid May
Rain plays silly games
And all weeding becomes sun fodder!

Come next May
The same weeding
Dad says, “This is our year
Let us cultivate more”
You weed, weed, weed
Rain plays silly games—again
Dad says, “This was very close
Next year we try to plant early”

Well, dad gets right sometimes
Rain doesn’t disappoint
But you stay at the farm
Screaming and banging metals
All day to chase birds
Then one Sunday,
ON THAT DAY,
Monkeys
Get ideas and invade the farm
We get  one sack
Dad says, “ Very very close this year
We need to do something with the
Monkeys”
So we invade the small Shabaha hill
With Kenya Wildlife Service wardens
And scare the hell out of those monkeys

Come next May
We weed, we weed, we weed
We harvest well
Dad says, “ See son, we got it right
This year”
But when dad takes it to sell
The Government says, “Look, there’s a surplus,
A market glut”
Surplus in Turkana as they eat wild berries
Dad is annoyed, frustrated
I remember the weeding
Dad asks them, “ How kind of you, you remind me
Of those monkeys”
Well-intentioned, no doubt, sarcasm
If you may say,
But Government says he insults them
So they grab dad, throw him in jail
For abusing them
Dad gets out

Come next may
Dad is still farming
He says, “That was very very close
If not for the surplus”
That is if the rain, birds
And monkeys don’t play silly games—
Again.

C) Lorot Salem 2011

9 comments:

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh I so love this poem! I can see it all so clearly. "We weed, weed, weed." Love the scaring the hell out of the monkeys. Painful, the vicissitudes of weather, surplus, chance, fate........a hard way to make a living. When you are a lawyer, let us hope your children, at least, will not have to weed:)

Salem Lorot said...

Thank you Koko. Tough when you are at the vagaries of nature-and men. Tororot will light the way and hopefully they will hear about this weed-monkeys-surplus tales and think it is a scene from a badly-written sitcom.

Raining Iguanas said...

Salem, tomorrow as the morning sun breaks the horizon, the birds begin to sing, and the alarm says, "time to rise" I will recite the words, "We weed, we weed, we weed," and I will think of your poem.

Andy said...

The life of any farmer is indeed a hard one, but is even more so when you don't have the expensive tools and everything has to be done by hand, regardless of season. For some, because of location, lack of education & lack of help from the government, it's what they know and what has been passed down to them from generations gone by.

My father, when he was alive, was not a farmer, but he was a peddler...he sold goods on the street from sun up til sun down in all seasons, just to make enough to feed the family. He was the only one bringing in an income. There were many mouths to feed and life was very tough at times, but even though food might have been small, we never went hungry.

I hope your fortunes in life will be much brighter.

A very thought-provoking piece, Salem. Thank you for sharing.

The Unknowngnome said...

Your Father surely is a man of hope.

Arian Tejano said...

I can relate to the narrative of this poem. My father is a farmer and I spent most of my childhood years in the farm. Very tender approach to this. Thanks

Salem Lorot said...

@ Raining Iguanas, oh brother that would be so lovely. I am always touched by your considerate comments.

@ Andy, first thank you for reading the poem and sharing a bit about your father. As you observe, there are certain occupations which are highly unpredictable. Being at the mercy of the weather(farmer) and being at the mercy of unwilling buyers ( peddler). But on a positive note, the sons of farmers and peddlers will learn to look to more sustainable things...like blogging ( just teasing)

@ The Unknowngnome, hope is all that we all got. Thank you for dropping by. Much humbled.

@ Arian Tejano, first in a special way welcome to Lorot's Poetry. You see Tejano, farming in one way or another resonates with most of us. Thank you for sharing and you are always welcome here. :)

Mary said...

I love the glimpses your poetry gives me into life in your part of the world, Salem.

Salem Lorot said...

@ Mary, thank you so much. One universe with such diversity. Poetry gives us various lenses to peer into nature.

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