His eager war-worn fingers tapped away;
Home sweet home! How glad!
No more late night crawls,
Stealthy whispers; all will be better.
He stares at the dying sun, how glad!
Straight home, to the arms of his weary-with-waiting family.
All the dreary things he had seen, done;
The foetid smell of vicious powder at every shot,
His fallen friends, the disturbed erupting rubble
At each bomb blast!
The truck pulled lazily away,
Grumbling at the load: a hoarde of weary fighters
Hope and ammunition spent, with hunger double bent;
Pulling sorry faces, Shakespeare could not have imagined better!
But under those scarred wrinkled overgrown brows
Flickered in their searching eyes
Some hope, hope of home comfort.
The truck plodded lazily on;
They chanted: one dead song it was;
Like ten drunkards at an opera.
Oh, but for the fallen, how much better it would have been!
Those memories plunged into his dud brain,
Digging tears from his stone-chiselled heart,
But he fought back; a soldier does not cry.
Once I strode in February’s sunny clothes,
And flowery fields and melodious fragrance thereof,
And there, set my nose
To receive that love
Of nature for a meek mortal moping along.
Then I set my ear to hear birds cheer
As each peer blended tweet and chirp with debonair.
“How blessed!” I sweared
And danced in the bare,
With the air of memories of past royal fairs.
Then I set my ear as one sang out of tune;
A young flown off too early, but crashing on the flower dunes,
Saharan in their beaut’
Like Kalahan before the prefix “Super”
He was lost and it stirred thoughts of pity in my top cocoon.
Steeped in beauty sublime, though heavy in my core,
(and heavier yet my heart was before a sight so sore)
I walked over
To hold the fallen soldier,
While brooding over thoughts obscure and heavier than the pain I bore.
I softly made approach, and it fluttered to the rear,
Wrapt in goose fear, I looked up to his peers
And beckoned as it would hear,
While I approached with measured care
And the weeds slowly recovered as my foot rose slowly into the air
And softly settled before me; I’s still wrapt in its tune
Which with orchestra frenzy was shriller and sang of doom
To long gone parents, who
Would have saved it could
They. One frail voice drowned in the insouciance of elders so rude.
I wave my blistered hand before my bleeding face,
Waving gunpowder smoke and blood fumes in the mist
To see the survivors, to see hope.
But all I see is crushed bones and leaking skulls;
All around the steaming tarmac lie lifeless lads,
Lost lives fill the air with more choking tears.
But we can’t cry now!
“Run! Run! Before they cast another bomb on us!”
I’m on my feet, staggering forward like an alcohol keg,
Surprised to be running alone to the porous camp shelter;
Oblivious to pain, oblivious to care, I stagger on.
Hoping to get my weapon and answer their fire.
It is then it dawns like a wooden blow on me:
I’m no soldier; they aren’t either!
Infant body parts entangled with women and men’s blood
Litter the town square, and I’m staring at the military shelter:
A wooden icecream stand with holes on the whole frame,
And blood , and burnt flesh reeking in the foetid smoke;
And… I break into tears.
I’m the anchor chain plunging into the deep,
Summoned by the sombre sea bed, taut and steep.
I’m the anchor chain torn between the deep and the ship,
Serving both the anchor digging the sea weeds,
And the ship ripping me off the anchor’s hold in its speed glee.
I’m problem land, trapped between two owners;
One person’s shouting curses, the other would feed the coroner.
I’m problem land. Remember the glorious days past
With daisies and morning glories? It’s over! Gun blasts
Have let loose blood baths to mar that beauty too fast!
I’m a mule, would you bet millions I’m horse or donkey?
Am I part of The Plan or mistaken fall out of a monkey?
I’m both! Let no war marr my existence.
Let horse hate donkey, but here must both parents’ love have residence,
In this heart two hearts made.
( c) Nyonglema