Friday, 30 March 2018

The Dog in Kivulu - Ralph Bitamazire

The dog in Kivulu,
Thin, bony and yawning;
The dog in Kivulu,
Panting and squatting
Like its master.
The dog in Kivulu,
Barking at naked children,
Children who sing a thanksgiving
As they leave the rubbish heaps.
The dog in Kivul,
Running away from fat flies
And scratching its tail with teeth,
Biting nothing but its own gums,
Swallowing nothing more than its own saliva.
The dog of Kivulu,
Guarding its drunkard master
And the hoard of fermenting millet,
Kwete and malwa in clay-pots.
But the dog of Kivulu
Lies by, with nothing to drink;
Nobody calls it Acaali, the bitch,
It looks on - at the trenches —
And drinks the water from the cattleshed.

A Ugandan man cleans his clothes
at the Makerere Kivulu slums in Kampala
source: Voice of Africa
Ralph Bitamazire (20th century) Uganda
Source: Poems from East Africa, selected by David Cook and David Rubadiri,
East African Publishers, 1996

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