Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Daughter of the Low Land - Peter Anyang’-Nyong’o

After I have communed with them,
With dead men’s ideas;
‘Nya dyang’ ’ comes to me
With accusing persuasion:
       ‘Come, “wuod twon”,
        My activities are vital.’

I do not let my testicles
Be crushed when I am wide awake
By the ghosts of an alien clan
In the half-lighted book-cave;
No!
W'hen I sheathe the family spear
And unfeather the poison-horned arrow;
‘When I expose the daughter of the low land
To village gossip and contempt;
Then the books that I read
Smash my testicles in my sleep!

My testicles
Have not been smashed
By heavy books!
        ‘Ocol.

Letting their heavy tongues ~
Like ‘rungus’ —
Butt my balls to wind's dust;
No!
Like the emissary
Of a semi-famished land,
Or the scout of a belligerent army
I brew with the enemy
And drink with my people.

And when I return home
To the daughter of the brave one,
The yeast from the low land
Makes my manhood
Rise.

Peter Anyang’-Nyong’o (born 1945) Kenya
Source: Poems from East Africa edited by David Cook and David Rubadiri, East African Publishers, 1996

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