Ayo

The kid was born late afternoon
his mother never heard him cry,
she passed out giving birth to him
and never made a sigh.

‘May you find realm of peace,’
said she, the grandma of the boy
and closed his mother’s eyes to cease,
for she won’t need them anymore.

‘Your mother gave you life,’ she said,
‘her life was hard, my boy.’
‘Despite her misery and pain,
I shall name you joy.’

‘Ayo, my boy, that is your name,
you may not travel far,
you will die long before your time,
your light the faintest of all stars.’

‘You’ll want to know about your pa
might as well tell you now,
you will not have the time to wait
to ask me when you’ve grown.’

‘I don’t know who your father is,
nor did your mother know,
so many took her body,
as others did before.’

‘They all came running, crossed the fields
and waved their long blades in the air
and caused us fear, we ran away
but when you’re ill the legs give way.’

‘When she was young, your mother, dear,
she fetched the water from the creek
eight other girls did go with her
and only four returned in tears.’

‘All under 12, the girls had been,
men’s hate and lust they’d never seen,
but from that day we learned to dig
the graves for our children.’

‘You’ll ask, where were the men to help,
to keep us safe from harm,
we buried most and some we nursed,
deep cuts, lost hands and arms.’

‘Our homes in flames, they pushed us out
to wander through the land,
always in fear of being seen
spent time in hiding from the men.’

‘And then the sickness grew within
infections of the men girls carried
and all the children they did bear
we have already buried.’

‘Ayo, my boy, and so in you
born without chance to grow,
the sickness that’s inside of you
will give you no defence at all’

‘And you’ll ask why, I wish I knew,
a woman’s door can not be locked,
the beasts that came did never ask,
forced entry without knocking.’

‘And those that tried to keep them out
were beaten, kicked and slaughtered,
and left for dead where they were found,
those girls were our daughters.’

‘We lost or homes, we lost our place
and with it our identity.’
‘I do not know where we are now
or how we’ll manage to survive.’

‘We live life worse than animals
and try to find some things to eat,
we hide from those with hateful eyes
and are in fear of all we meet.’

‘So in this first hour of your life
you know the suffering of your tribe,
for we’re not strong and far dispersed
and dwindle by the day.’

‘I’d rather face the wildcats, lions,
than all the beasts called men,
for they kill swiftly with their jaws
and save us lots of pain.’

‘This cradle of humanity,
birthplace for all the world did see,
will not grant life for poor and weak
and starving orphans that are sick.’

‘Ayo, this day you’re born to be,
heard all the things I said,
I’ll hold you close, a moment’s joy
may all we ever get.’

© Heinz Ross

Ayo

Heinz

Joined August 2008

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Artist's Description

From my book ‘Between Eternities’, as download or paperback.
See “My Books” link in profile.

Artwork Comments

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  • Heinz
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