Quietus?


The fear of death is obstructively futile
That cold numb night as you lay bleeding in the ICU, gasping for breath
Feeling lighter and lighter - almost floating
As the monitor beeps, you see a faint image of your kinsfolk
Staring, embracing – hugging tightly
In the absence of the proverbial gentle breeze,
Their sobs and wails concern you not
For its pointless to brood over what might have been

You ponder about your pilot to the ‘other side’
Is it Walumbe[1] who has wrung the life out of you?
Or a sword bearing angel of death atop a dark horse
Do you traverse a tunnel at whose end a light awaits?
Or stride into an initiation fete with ancestors
to await appeasement as an ancestral spirit
Honoured with spilled drinks[2] and consulted by descendants for counsel
Have you earned the right to eternal rest?
Or will you unhappily roam and haunt the earth settling old scores?
Occasionally creeping from your dark grave to
Venture onto streets as a sheep or cat

Perhaps Eucharist Confirmation class got it right
As a child you sang of that grim inevitable hour
Of trial and judgement, of laid out plaints
Of an audit and examination of your life’s recorded minutes
Of an austere mighty judge and his graceful son
Weighing your soul’s account against a white flawless feather
They’ll cast you either to the peaceful glorious elysium on their right; to incessant singing,
Or the fiery doomed bottomless sea of fire on their left
where the wretched wail, groan and scream eternally
     George Kiwanuka



[1] Walumbe refers to death, a character in Ganda legends who kills Kintu’s descendants, today’s Baganda people.
[2] A popular old Ganda tradition in which before local brew is drunk, its spilled to the ground as an offer tp the ancestors

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