Thursday, January 17, 2019


A Tribute to the Courageous Peoples of South Sudan

Ai, saiid muktelum**, it is true...
Our peoples straddle the Nile
Our land is lush and green
Our cattle outnumber the stars
Blessed, are we, beyond measure.

Ai, saiid muktelum, it is true...
The biblical account counts us tall and strong
Our wives are hearty and wise
Our children make full many quivers
Blessed, are we, beyond measure.

Ai, saiid muktelum, it is true, but have you not heard...?
Our children and our wives, stolen as slaves
Forced, are we, to learn tongues not touching our own
Strange and new beliefs, substitute our well worn ways
Our lands, besieged, decade upon decade upon decade
Our peoples displaced, and often, not embraced.

Ai, saiid muktelum, I pray thee to continue...
The Egypto-British Condominium
The Arab Islamic Regimes from the North
Little do they know, little have they cared
About us Southerners, catching us...awares.

Ai, saiid muktelum, humbly I beseech thee to know...
We are proud peoples possessing a rich history
Reduced to ashes by proxies and divisions
Emanating from without, germinating from within
Humbled to the ground, a mortally wounded lion -
Are we, much to our chagrin.

Ai, saiid muktelum, I pray thee, stand with us in prayer
To be a people united, humbled, but not in despair
A healed people, a people made whole, under the banner of Him
Our Savior, Redeemer, our Comforter and Friend
From Malakal to Mundri, from Pochalla to Torit to Wau
From Yambio to Yei to Abiyei, every people
Covered with peace and joy
Every tongue rejoicing
Singing the eternal

~ Bob Rice, New Year’s Eve, 2018

** “Malu?” Is a question in Arabic and/or the local version of Arabic in Juba, meaning “What is it?” or “What is wrong?” 

** “Aii, said muktelum” is a classical Arabic expression meaning, “Yes, honorable sir” - this link will take you to a video of me presenting this poem to a group of missionaries on New Year’s Eve at the “Do-It-Yourself” talent show at the Renew Conference at Brackenhurst in Limuru, Kenya

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