Would You . . . ?
By Sitawa Namwalie
Would you wield a panga in Burnt Forest, and cut
a stranger down?
You slashed that man as he pleaded with you for life.
Instead you led the crowd baying for his blood
A stranger you did not even know.
He cowered and cried out, bleating like a lamb
Innocent of any crime
Death unwilling to take him,
He died long and hard, way before his time.
His blood has watered your farm like acid rain.
How will you live?
Would you catch a running girl?
Escaping a church fire in Eldoret?
Place her roughly on the burning pyre
A parody of father, tender, laying his baby girl to
sleep, on downy bed.
No lullaby can drown her keening dread.
Her fear of eternal coming sleep
Your pitiless face did not soothe.
Now you must be careful for your child.
Would you seek a loving wife and give her one-hour to
leave her home?
Depart from all she knows and those she loves
And go where?
You do not care!
And you call that an act of charity
When she pleads with you to kill her then,
To wield a blunt blade,
Carve out her heart!
For all is lost,
At 59 where does she go to start again?
You stood resolute
You did not yield
Would you turn against your neighbor’s son?
The one who lent you salt in halcyon days,
That same who nursed your wounds and soothed your
And flush that son out of his hiding place
And hand him over to certain death,
Ignore beseeching eyes of your neighbor friend
Who stands too stunned to make a sound?
Now your own son is done,
Would you serrate your friend with words of hate?
Spoken cruel to cause a mortal wound,
She’s the one you used to call a chum
Your careless hatred has sown seeds of harm
Now you stand alone in fulsome deed?
posted 22 January 2008