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Dirge in an undulating hill (Tribute to Robert Kachi Chikwendu)

What is in death
that it is perennially drunk?
What is in the soil
that it is insatiable?
Robert has gone visiting
when will he be back?

O mortuary I hail thee
harbinger of many souls
naked they lie
ritual of passing
embalment their ointment
perfumery to the beyond

In procession
relatives and mourners line
ntasiobi to Ezeagu
contoured paths to the grave
today Robert tomorrow who?

What becomes of his young family
What is the gain of his struggles
Our hustles
All but vanity

Here I stand
on sacred hills of Ezeagu
undulating meeting our pains
solidarity of tears
uniformity of fate that must be
that must come

Here we all gather
eulogies leaning upon wailings
dust and air all quiet
in communion with nature
a call that we must pay

Fare thee well Kachi
your new apparel
loyalty you must adorn
tell them the tales of our sardine escapades
tell them our land is in turmoil
beckon on ancestors to awaken
to let us be but take our pains
our land needs healing
our deaths dignity

Editing stage: 
Content level: 
Not Explicit Content


from your title the word undulating intrigued me greatly, you have written a memorable and very dignified piece to robert. I see robert as a very special person, but i also enjoyed your questioning, when will he be back? i see a belief in this poem that death doesnt mean the end, we journey into something.
you have chosen some beautiful words, like beckon our ancesters to awaken, i see him as he a fisherman?
may i say your last lines are incredibly poweful and come together with the whole poem and the title. a passionate thoughtful poem Sir.

Thank you...Teddy

Thank you Teddy for your comments which is true to the thoughts of the poem. Robert was my Sales Executive on our Sardine sales. May he rest in peace. Thanks again for the wonderful critique.

author comment

the word you want is undulating. The description of wavy hill is fine, but I'm not sure that it applies to [meeting our pains]. Maybe you should try another word that means something similar or closer to the meaning? Other than that, I like the description of a service and meeting of mourners. All the members of the critiquing workshop should come and critique this poem poem and let us see what your critiquing skills are. ~ Geezer.

Come to chat every Thursday - 3:30 to 4:30 pm. EST.
With: c Lynn Brooks and Geezer

Hi Geezer. I appreciate your time and concise critique. In the burial scene, hills abound. The usage of Undulating hills of Umumba in Ezeagu is a powerful imagery and creative expression of the wavy hill being in rhythm with the cries of wailers in expressing their pains on Robert's transition. It is nature aligning with humans. Hoping you get the concept.

Thank you.

author comment

you mention it, I do get the nature of the undulating voices wailing. I think that you might put that back in and make it evident that it is in relationship to the wailers. Very good. ~ Geez.

Come to chat every Thursday - 3:30 to 4:30 pm. EST.
With: c Lynn Brooks and Geezer

Good suggestion. I will do just that.
Thank you!

author comment

of the Symbolist's despair in it, and has a legitimate sense of this country's despair

our land needs healing
our deaths dignity

I don't think you need so many stanzas, and an approach that involves a compact intensity--fewer lines and more emphasis on what you have--would be better. Good start!

Yes, I like the compact intensity aspect. Will try it out.

Thank you!

author comment
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