KYOMUHENDO ATEENYI

Umlungu* I

It was about the time
The lovely sun- Archeress chooses to strip nude:
May be to seduce, may be to change dress as she girds for battle,
Betraying the bright splendor of her divine whole
And skillfully pelting down the great bowel
Fine arrows warm
To earth’s amazement and also its son’s
Like a woman in lust
Whose thighs are moist for love.
This,
Dawn they call it!

The Drummer most of our village,
Handsome Njumba, whose voice of baritone
It was whispered
Tickled the breasts of village belles;
His hands as he drummed,
Were known to be guided by a power supernatural,
Came running and panting through the whistling grass
Along the pathway to his master’s great palace
Like a Bush buck pursued by a leopardess
With starving cubs!

The great epics of our King that did exist
He skillfully declaimed with no assist
And seemed possessed by a mad spirit
That was known to seldom visit.

He was the son of Nkwanzi the Blacksmith and of Nyangendo the storyteller
Of Rwetuma,
Of Bahemuka,
Of Kabyanga
Of Kagoro
Of Kakyomya
Of Rujumba
Of Rugumayo
Of Katana
Of Mbabi
All of the Enkoole totem in its second harvest.
And such was his bloodline!

Have you ever seen how unsettled
The laughing hyena that wears spots
Becomes
When a Lion hungry
Claws poised
Jaws strong and savoring for a meal to come
Darts around the hole in which she hid her only young the previous night?

Have you ever seen the vengeful gaze
In the eyes of a brave Gisu boy
Cursing the cruel intentions of a young girl
With a beautiful gap in her teeth
A set of smooth corals provocatively pointed from her chest
Cheeks blooming
Buttocks protruding
Dimples pricking
Who chooses to cross his path
In the days of his nursing?
So also was Njumba, the King’s errand runner
When he brought the news to his master.

Hangiriza! Hangiriza! Hangiriza! Hangiriza Agutamba Emanzi eteera n’enaga!
Hail you, hail you, hail you! Hail you my great king!
May the hundred clans of your Kingdom clasp around you
Like the wandering bird that found friendship with the tree branch!
You are the Great warrior
And as you advance,
You are greeted with the wailings of widows and the cries of children
For husbands and fathers who dare cross your path
Don’t live to see the next moment.
You are the war hero
Who advances and leaves behind decimated bodies as a trace of his passing
For your power to mutilate
Is the proud emblem of your conquerous ways.
It is for this that vultures also chant to your name in their worshipful legends as they make merry…

My Liege Lord, Lord of Lords, King of Kings
As your eyes were wandering
News I bring you,
They saw strange beings
Whose skins resemble the color of pumpkin porridge!

My King you are as wise as the Gods
Permit me to ask if you please:
Are they our ancestors reborn
As was soothsaid by Kafuuzi, the village diviner
That one day they will present themselves to us, their children, in ways strange?

Wise King,
They don’t speak our language
That is rich and pregnant with proverbs and riddles of our people!
But as I got nearer to them,
They spoke as though their noses were blocked by a strange disease
That had infected them all!

They are cowards!
Cowards they are!
They use not the spear
That gave the Abarusuura battle- eminence
And made our great heroes
Like Rwabudongo,
Ireta
Kikukule…
And also gave prominence to our intricate war stratagems
In the blaze of glory of battle
And formed theme for our proud legends!

It is their magic
Their magic lo
That has guided them to use a weapon strange
That gun maxim
So strange
That blasts like a thunder clap…….



Seated on his raised stool elegantly clad in the national constitume, a neatly worked cowhide, the great King cleared his throat and said to his errand- runner and skilled drummer:

“Njumba my obedient servant, as you can see the sun is on her way to rest (dusk falling) , tell the other court page the son of my subject Biribonwa that I have commanded that you be given a pot- full of Amarwa to cool of your sweat. I will be summoning the Rukurato (Supreme parliament of the Kingdom) tomorrow for you to continue relating what you saw to them. My son, go and rest.”



* Umlungu- The Xhosa word for 'White man' is 'Umlungu' meaning - 'foam from the sea'. The plural is Abelungu.

Poem Submitted: Friday, May 28, 2010
Poem Edited: Friday, May 28, 2010

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