Monday, August 18, 2014

What to do? - A poem on a POW on deathrow

I wrote this poem after watching a documentary on prisoners-of-war (POW)s and genocide. It was some years ago. I found the slip of paper somewhere in my room last week and decided to post it on the Net because I’ve stopped writing poems.

The POW is in anguish, mentally and physically, over the fact that today is the day he has been decreed to die. To be shot at the back of the neck with a pistol. He shares a cell with other POWs which is a dark room but the nails are not in the room, only on his body and his psyche. He knows he’s surely going to die today and there is nothing anybody can do about that. Very sad!

I titled the poem: “What to do.” There is nothing you can do if you are a prisoner awaiting your death. Nothing at all.

What to do.

Ghouls assail me left and right Moaning I beg the heavens to open To accept me after my sudden death For I can bear this burden no longer. Like a walking old man with a sac Defeated by time, war weary, hungry. His legs hairy, forlorn thoughts aplenty. I ask them, comrades avoiding my gaze Smiling like yesterday’s green lawn: “Do you know what it is, this assailing Clubbing my every being with nails?” With long sighs, speaking to the wind Surely earless though with much to say Words that only the gods can hear. The pain, the pain – the scale is rising On the weight where depression sleeps Waiting in vain for an answer that Will never come – this anguish, my secret. The chamber of nails and bars, darkness! With roaches running about like slaves, to A scroll written by two vermin who decreed That I die by a shot of the pistol. Do I break the laws of transport Fight a battle only the heavens can plot? The roaches will know nothing but the chant: “What to do – What to do?” By 12, midnight, the pistol will come silently The roaches before; the scroll read to my death. ---- Nnaemeka David

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