Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Poetic Psalm of Lament

This lament is written in the aftermath of the events that happened the week of January 19th (2015) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In response to an attempt by President Kabila and his political allies to change election laws to remain in power for an extra four years, opposition leaders and youth led protests which were met with fierce and brutal force.  Human Rights Watch reports 36 killed over four days, mostly university students.  This poem is written in honor of these students and their heroism. 

He Will Not Stand Down

High Chief of all,
Mighty made low,
Your awesome power
Who can stand before?

The proud power hungry -
Standing, backs of men  
Smile and laugh, frown and smash -
Crumpling poor at door: refuse, trash!

Self-preservation escalating 
Escorts, black windows tinted
Invisible to masses, heard across air -
Waves heralding, hearts shuddering.   

Power producing fear and dread
Standing proud, tall, ahead
Not least this one, not standing down, 
He wants it all, instead. 

Another voice comes, massive crowd
Assemble gather protest
Rush the door, seeking voice
Met by bullet, spray and club.

Three dozen dead, four days gone
Congo why persist, committing  
Ghastly wrong; bright future dead,
This…this your song?

Yet brave herald the strong
The veil of fear pierced*
Darkness day breaking
Hearts, hearts, waiting.

Number one numbering days
Crown but lost, pride ever gone -
The Chief will not stand down
Who can stand before?

The High Chief comes,
Pure light, countenance His
Right arm justice
Leveling, the tall.     

Windows tinted, you cannot hide
Get out, you there inside.
The High Chief comes
And He, oh yes He…
Will not stand down.

* this line is an abbreviated quote from an e-letter from Francine Mukwaya, UK Representative of the Friends of Congo, who used this phrase to say that the bravery of the youth who died has unlocked others from the ‘veil of fear’ in making their desires for a free and fair democracy publicly known.  There is no more hiding and crouching in the dark.  ‘The veil of fear has been pierced’.  There was a march just this week in Kananga and a friend of ours who manages the small local market bravely participated.       

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