Friday, 30 September 2011

Asiyesikia La Mkuu Huvunjika Guu*

The task was to write a poem inspired by the colour red


Kinsman, there you lie
Split into two
By ilat, the god of thunder
Not a drop of blood
Not a struggle for life

Whatever lies of you, kinsman,
Is bad sight for my eyes
Choking our breaths
Confusing our minds

As you lie there
Your akala shoes strewn
Your snuff bottle by your neck
Your lukup by your side
Your ng’achar a step away
Beside your lifeless body
I find it hard to be a man

But, Kinsman, you had been warned
Of stirring the wrath of ilat
Who defied the gods and lived?
Who poked the eyes of ilat and lived?

As I was told
You were seen in a red shuka by the mukuyu
Who wore red, Kinsman?
But there you were
By the riverside, in a red shuka
Like a child throwing sand on a beehive
Ilat rumbled but you defied
Had you pictured what would be of you
You would have thrown that shuka
Ran and made peace with the gods
Second time there was no rumble
All people heard was a subdued scream
And then this—
Flesh severed into two
Head to toe
Jutting eyes

You had been warned, Kinsman.


Asiyesikia La Mkuu Huvunjika Guu*- This is a Kiswahili saying or 'methali' which warns people to listen to their elders failure to which they will 'break their legs'.

Ilat- The god of thunder among the Pokots.

Shuka- Swahili for bedsheet, night wrap. The Pokots wrap them around their bodies as their clothing.

Akala- Traditional shoes made of Michelin tyres worn by the Pokot nomads.

Ng'achar- Traditional stools worn by the Pokots.

Lukup- Traditional walking sticks used by the Pokots.

Mukuyu- A type of tree.


Morningpen said...

amazing red piece.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

This is stunning, and the imagery is powerful. What a strong red poem!

Ellasedge said...

Wonderful and such great imagery~!

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