come, let us sing a requiem to our former days
for past realities become present dreams

and the frazzled glaze of our wrinkled grandeur
swiftly flake with the pace of fleeting time

come, let us weep for the humiliation
of this empty place that cradled once great hopes of purple realms;

and, spangled with splendour at the time,
sheltered gold crowns and sceptres of sovereign royalty

that are now enclosed in crude crates of humble slat
awaiting shipment in frozen turn to London’s Museum...

come, let us mourn for our looted troves
where, in days of peaceful being,

the radiance of stones alone had eclipsed
the light of luminous skies with sweat-less ease;

and the glimmer of gold far brighter
than glowing solitary stars of moonless nights!

come, let us grieve amid the remnant glory;
this place of tears where new lies unravel
as old truths decay...

can we reckon the wives of a broken stead,
or the number of concubines that wait
in a pillaged harem?

do we count the shoots that live
after the root has died?

our golden age of innocence eloped
with the itinerant winds...

now we cling only to painful memories of those days
when seed yams were prolific in our barns

and belts of tropical palms sang to a happier land
the cheerful songs of supple fronds fluttering in the breeze

Redscar McOdindo K'Oyuga (@RedscarMcOdindo) is a poet and writer and many other things. He studied Medicine & Surgery at campus. He writes in both Swahili and English. His work has been published in Lawino Magazine, Jalada, and Breaking Silence, an anthology of poems. His Swahili poems (mashairi) are weekly published in Taifa Leo and/or Taifa Jumapili, Kenya’s nationwide Swahili Newspaper. He is a winner of the Fern Poetry Prize. His work has also appeared, or is forthcoming, in Kwani?, assorted newspapers and other poetry anthologies.