City Dwellers pass this to Ogillo, my husband

To you city dwellers:

By word of mouth…pass this to Ogillo, my husband..

Tell him that I Atieno,

has not despised the cows and goats

That he took to her village

Tell him too

That I haven’t insulted his footsteps

And the sweat that trickled from his thick neck

As he trod through the angry sun

To my home..

Tell him!

 

I know you city dwellers

That you are likely to forget

Because of those schedules you call busy,

Tell him the naked truth

Do not cloth this even in broad day light,

I know you city dwellers

Do it like the village men do

Do not whisper to him

Or whistle

Through those machines you stuff on your ears..

Let the words roll and wriggle

Between your own lips

And let Ogillo hear you well…

 

Who’er meets Ogillo in the city

Who’er sees the trail of

My husband’s flat feet

Whether rugged or smooth

Who’er notices his baldness

Whether wide like a pay field

Or smooth like cemented floor

Who’er meets him across those streets

Whether clean or dusty….

 

Tell him that I will not wait

And i should not,

Tell him that he should not complain-

Not to his eyes that shall see

The tiller of his own land

Tell him not to blame his ears

That will hear the wails of his wife

In the moonlight-

Atieno will wail and weep

 

You who will meet him

Tell him not to blame the hands

That will scoop the soup

At the bottom of the bowl

Atieno will empty the bowl

Tell him-

I say tell him you city men

Who chew sugarcane with my husband..

 

Let him not insult the feet that shall shuffle between the dry leaves behind my house…

Let him not

Let him not name them a wizard’s

Withered feet

No, they are not a wizard’s!

Atieno will not see the wizard

But the visitor..

 

I will not say more

But warn him

You who meets him tonight..

Tell him not to weep

When he finds wet smoke bellow

From his hut!

 

If he likes

Let him glue himself in the city forever!

Atieno is not an “adugo” tree…

Glossary:

Adugo: a type of hardwood (indigenous tree)

@Evelyne Ongogo Okoth | DICHOL. …and other poems.

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