Poetry

Funeral Song

Photo Credit: Miwok.Licensed CC-BY-NC-SA.
Photo Credit: Miwok.
Licensed CC-BY-NC-SA.

It is not the hushed weeping
Nor the piercing wild screams
Nor the beating of chests
Nor the swollen downcast eyes
Of the mourning youthful widow
That herald the gruesome passing
Of an equally youthful husband
Whose mangled remains
Lie boxed in the confines
Of the cheap white coffin
Concealed from the sight
Of the feeble and faint hearted.

It is the blending
Of the sharp stabbing soprano
And the weeping passionate alto,
The reverberating husky bass
Of big breasted Mbuya Chitunhu.
Amidst the dusty, choking air
It is the rhythmic threshing of feet
The sobbing pounding drum,
Gyrating waists and chests

For it is a party
For the young and uninitiated
But listen…
and watch closely
To the heart of the message
Of the shoulder readily offered
For at least two nights in a row
The warmth of the drooling saliva
From the semi-orphaned sleeping infant,
Plastered onto the back
Belonging not to its mother
It is the unisoned tormented crescendo
Of the tortured agony of pained voices
The solidarity that underlines the pain
In the rhythmic funeral song
Of poor rural women.