Monday, November 1, 2021





Giants Sail Gently Down





Casket! Thunder shouts! Metallic laughter! Forward, march!

Stretcher lifted, shifted! Men of ranks, move! Flagged casket!

Soldiers! Thunder stumps! The last absolute salute! About-turn!

Great standstill! Leading brass, anthems — brass band!

Silence! Casket, flag lowered! Hymns to returning dust and ash!

Then our choked turn to rock and roll and cry and bleed!

O son of the bull Chief, son of the Elephant breed,

It's you next that we have come to bury

And roll and dance with grief-stricken pride and glory,

With war-songs, Royal drums, spears and shields,

For, by installments, we await our burials in the fields,

O how giants sail gently down...




The last salute, Lokec! Son of the illustrious Elephant clan,

The day has broken the male york of the land!

The tongue-tying news headline that morn

Waking the world and his mistress to mourn

The untimely release of the Luo Prince!

The Elephant Tower, the Lion of Mogadishu since...

The lost Labongo's only begotten Royal Spear,

The swallowed bead of Gipir spat with the dung,

The lost pride of the beaten tribe, Sun of Pader,

The Poisoned Arrow of Jojoka-malo, the earth tremor,

The tribal drum; they have felled the giant Black Mamba,

And surrounded its vipers, awaiting their Fates,

O how giants sail gently down...




The rightful heir of the clan's Stool, the bull's horn

Of the silenced warrior-tribe, the only olango thorn,

Labwor-moi, Prince of Peace, the tribal flag-bearer,

The Great Fire, the skilful hunter, the forerunner,

The Great Warrior whose name melted foreign hills,

Truly, the nose does not smell stomach-content!

He that defecated along the road has done it again,

Piling excrements upon excrements, throne upon throne

Upon the bleeding blistering haunted land;

We throw our mothers in waters, the Hare throws mortar,

We have come to hear the thudding Pestle and the Mortar,

O how giants sail gently down...




Gentle giant of the sniffling dim North,

The land long threshed by the foreign feet of men,

Darkness has darkened our doors, the hills weep,

The Elephant breed gone too soon to sleep;

Feeble are our limbs, misty the eyes of the struck land,

Elsewhere a cadence of corpses of laughter.

O gentle giant returned lifeless from the South,

Now bolted doors of dreams, doors bolted with shutters.

The owl hooted nearby home, then death at dawn,

Elders click tongues, wonder who next shall be gone;

The only bull in the kraal; they have felled the bull

And castrated the remnants they think cows dull,

O how giants sail gently down...




Death is keen-eyed; its concentrated loving hate

Charms you titles and promotions of the State,

Then leads you towards its mother's homestead,

That deathless silent nightland of the Dead.

The master that wants to kill his brilliant dog

First throws it bones — O the ruse of the deathly god!

The death that wants to kill a homestead

First numbs an old dog's nose — we find it dead.

A general's fame, the enemies' corpses made;

The commander-in-chief's, his generals' corpses bade.

The bull of a man falls silently, lonely!

A silent kick, a silent fall, they think comely,

O how giants sail gently down...




My tribe remembers the taste of deaths drunk hot

In series of secret serial tribal cleanings

From sweet posioning to pre-planned accidental dyings

In the preying hands of the greedy leading lot

In what ceaseless intervals of forged departure

Renewed in decades of decadence, tenure after tenure.

The chiefs snore, the priests stoop beneath slogans

Of the proverbial modern-days cracking guns.

O my sleeping giant tribe, still snoring,

Waking up dead, heaps upon heaps, still ignoring

The rootless selective silent falls — warriors collapsing.

O angry ancestors, pray for us in hours of our deaths,

O how giants sail gently down...




The brooding death has built her nest at our home,

Hatching, the mother hawk hovers overhead, eyeing;

In a moment, a silent kick at the chicken;

No more men, home left for orphan children,

For, when the chicks sleep, the hawks come.

Darkness looms fast upon the hunchbacked hills,

Anger choked with fear falling in great blood clot still.

The noble prey, the clergy pray, the poor pay,

Eloquence of silence falls upon the coming days,

The fisted arms of the land tender their bloods,

O how giants sail gently down...




The roaring lion gone to the great silent slumber

Where venturous men will advance to lumber,

The landers sooner than later pushed to corners

And more adventurous men shall sail in

From far hills, strange wind shall be let in,

To tilt their ancestral graves, O what beaten garners!

The devil gives with the right, takes with the left

While we snore and fart, and have soundly slept,

While we laugh for having attained certain heights

And pat our tummies for gaining certain weights!

Ah, what unbeaten drum of the utterly beaten tribe,

Whose sons compete, in rain seasons, to imbibe!

O how giants sail gently down...




An alien poisonous snake has entered our house,

All the little rats run for their little breaths,

The cats and the dogs perish all alike,

Struck most when they least expect the snake-strike.

The drums of curfews, the dance of deaths,

Death himself, the Chief Celebrant, lays in ambush;

Streets clear, houses fill, limbo in the bush.

If the Dead could tell their own tales

Of who poisoned or slain them, the sun should fail,

Or if they could warn us the living left,

None would go to bed or would have slept

Knowing how the giants sail gently down...




The crops mourn the passing of the gaint,

Dogs refuse bones, bright meteors fly over

The land once devoured by cracking sounds

That left her with ceaseless unhealing wounds,

Where the buzzing flies and vultures now hover.

This poor rime my hands do lend, this poor rime

Is your monument, you Samson at your departed prime.

The posterity shall mock our days of cowardice,

But tell them, safety lies in number and distance,

Once within the realm, you jeer at your dice

That refuses to turn on in an instance.

The Ganda hills crumble, the Kitara hills grumble,

O how giants sail gently down...




The wars are over, the wars are over,

But carcasses we must bend to collect and count

Where the seasoned eyewitnesses do silently fall,

For resisting the old master's grave call,

Refreshed in flesh and blood of the sixth round.

The wars are over, the wars are over,

But the secret serial tribal killings

In the corona of corruption swelling bellies

Of the brutal land-grabbing secretly streaming

From the long ruling fingers counting forged tallies!

O no more wars but victims of a sickly state,

These long-listed names ticked off as "already the late"!

O truly, giants sail gently down.




Look, look at the fellow homies crouched

Like hunters, with warrior-spears and shield poised,

Women yodeling, horns blown, war-drums, men ready

To punch death that has taken the one giant already,

A chasm left in the nation's heart none shall get closed.

O how generals go without eating their pensions,

Death still aiming high at his unfinished missions.

O how poor civilians struggle for change but generals

In what hopeless ranks end their struggle at funerals.

O the brave man of the once strong gloryland,

A man of noble and of brilliant life,

Here lies he in the mansion of the sand,

Power and strength removed from him alive,

For this is how giants sail gently down...




Death at cold dawn, death has no kin,

No permanent ally but every man's enemy;

Old but no fool at all, always watching,

Paws peeled, claws always snatching.

O poor God of the gods and me,

Who are in the Skyland, seated in cushion, watching evils,

Must we also sit on cushions, watch the devils

Tread upon your body? Death devours so lean

O poor God of the gods and me — must we lie

And cry and roll and blow and drum and die?

No! Our hands didn't remain in our mothers' wombs,

We'll rise and fight and save and go to our tombs,

O truly, giants sail gently down...




The black cloths of the unfortunate wombs

Commit theirs beneath the earth in lightless tombs,

Footfalls, I hear the fading giant footfalls

Of the great giants gone to glory

Leaving the land in a night dreary and hoary;

No more drums with the last drum-rolls.

The begotten son of death shall be enthroned

Once the homestead's gate is closed with odwong horns.

The homestead is dead, the hills silently cold,

The hills once proud and strong and bold!

O how giants go to Pagak jokingly:

Ocora the Trained Warrior , Cong-gwok and Oketa the Black Iron,

Lapolo the Lightning, Oyite the Thunder, now Lokec the Lion,

O how giants sail down gently...




The sea they sail on full of uncertain tides,

The wind comes most when least expected,

The sojourner-ship tossed here and there,

The ship starts to sink with passengers unaware,

The sea swallows the land at home unsuspected;

Similar deaths, same death-bringer in the tidal wind—

Go gently, Great Sailors, go gently with the tidal wind.

O great departed men, I do still beseech,

Come, move with us all,

And be our foot-guide,

In our most need and call,

Above all, be by our hollow side:

Sleep well, great ones, sleep well,

Tonight, we stand to fare you well.



(Eulogy•Elegy•Tribute To the Late Maj. Gen. Paul Lokec

(1966-2021, August, 21, Sat., Uganda)



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