Friday, February 6, 2015

It's Easy To forget by Surumanzi Manzi-published in A Thousand Voices Rising

IT IS EASY TO FORGET …

When you are alive
It is easy to forget that you will die
Or even that death actually exists ...

Beyond wreaths, caskets and cemeteries encountered seasonally
You cannot feel the sting of death anymore...

You believe such things to be reserved for ‘others’ ...
The unwanted step-children of gods who did not exist anyway ...

When you are young ...
It is easy to forget that you will grow old,
That you will lose the smooth texture of skin,
Or the milky white of your eye ...
That your beautiful black locks of hair will grey one day,
and your heart will grow weary with lack of ambition ...

You forget that one day,
You will lose the spring of step ...
And the innocence of youth ...

You will lose the liberty to dream dreams,
and a lifetime to chase them ...
You forget that you will someday be bald, bent and bitter ...

When you are healthy,
Well, sane and strong ...
It is easy to forget the pain of illness ..
The physical pain ... and the mental pain,
the anguish of immobility ...
The dread of impending death...
And the insane lusting-after life itself ...

When you were born in Kampala,
It is easy to forget the deprivation of a rural childhood...

When you were bred on buttered-bread and frozen-milk ...
It is easy to forget the hard corn-cobs welcoming the toddler in Moroto
to yet another day … everyday …

When you are perpetually conflicted between beef and mutton for dinner,
It is easy to forget that thousands of fellow citizens have been constantly unsure of their next meal from the day they left the womb ...

If the toughest riddle in your life has been choosing between Budo and Namagunga for your high-school education ...
It is easy to forget that 70% of the nation‘s children will never have the chance of knowing the meaning of the boring word ‘black-board’ ...

When you are alive,
It is easy to forget that you will die ...

When you are safe, sound, fat and pampered in your gated & manicured sub-urban home ...
It is easy to forget that the masses of Ugandans ‘out-there‘ can only manage half the night‘s sleep owing to incessant battles with mosquitoes, bed-bugs ... and stomachs grumbling from emptiness ...


When you are young ...
It is easy to forget that you will grow old ...
And, SURELY, you will die ...

When you are young,
When all you think of is girls and boys and toys,
A good job, money to spend and a life to live …
It is easy to forget that your country needs you …

That by sitting all day and wishing of good times …
By refusing to partake in efforts to right society’s wrongs,
You are plainly betraying your country …

When you are young,
It is easy to forget that by not speaking for justice, and writing for justice, and walking and marching for justice …
You are effectively as guilty as the corrupt of robbing public funds …

As guilty as those parasitic politicians,
Of killing pregnant mothers due to absence of medicines in our hospitals …

As guilty as the reactionaries,
Of selling the soul of Uganda to foes yonder …

It is easy to FORGET



Solomon Manzi,
Lantern Meet of Poets
Uganda

A Thousand Voices Rising poetry anthology:
Copies in Kampala available at The Uganda Museum.
In Kigali, available at Ikirezi bookshop and Genocide Memorial Bookshop.
In Nairobi, call +254 722 790479

No comments:

Post a Comment