Nyamwezi

NYAMWEZI

Her voice –

With a melody that echoed through the dark chamber,

She sang her song as the nightingale wept,

Her red lips rounded, her throat suspended;

A soprano of notes floated onto the humid summer night.

All was silent in that moment-

The crickets lulled as if hypnotized by a siren’s call,

The breeze enslaved carried the tune across the village square;

Men boozing held beer bottles to their chests,

Women cooking sighed as they mingled posho with tired arms,

Toothless babes smiled recognizing the sweet lullaby

Like forever did we listen;

A heavenly solo that one would die to hear,

Suddenly- the song came to a jarring halt

And just as the night before,

A blood curling wail

Pierced through the darkness

The villagers nodded their heads in unison exclaiming

‘That is Nyamwezi, the deranged widow.’

NYAMWEZI!

SECOND WINNER OF THE FOURTH BN POETRY AWARD, 2012

This poem, Nyamwezi, was written by Paula Biraaro and emerged second in the fourth BN Poetry Award., 2012. She won 300 USD, a trip to the Storymoja Festival in Nairobi and autographed copies of The African Saga by Dr. Susan Kiguli, Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi, Tropical Fish by Doreen Baingana and Fables out of Nyanja by Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire. Babishai poets were the first Ugandan poets to attend the Storymoja Festival.

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