Il Walad, poem published by Douglas Alexander Holiday

(for the children of the Sudan and Somalia)

        Walking,
        here you come
        walking
        walking in groups of
        ten,
        a hundred,
        thousands,
        ten thousand
        some of you
        are walking on
        two legs, no thicker than a man’s finger
        or one leg supported by branches
        others are carried
        or ride piggybacked
        here you come
        as young as eight
        as old as twenty-something
        with two outstretched hands
        or single-handed, the other one left behind in a civil war
        you are coming
        finding no durra or mukheit on
        this far trek
        trying to flee from
        the sharia
        the Haddendawa
        the Taposa
        this Muslim-Christian war
        and you don’t understand
        why
        Sadiq al-Madi or Omar Hassan El-Bashir
        won’t feed you
        clothe you
        shelter you and
        why
        you must pick up arms
        at eight
        you are Dinka
        you are Nuer
        traveling through
        the deserts
        sifting through
        dust and sand
        for a grain of corn
        or something to keep many of
        you alive
        for one more day
        as you make this journey
        through Abyei, el Meiram, Bahr El Ghazel(near Raga)
        can you try to cross
        the upper Nile, without drowning
        the White Nile
        or the Akobo River
        coming through Equatoria, Muglad, Rumraadt,
        meeting others in
        Khartoum
        Juba
        Wau
        Aweil
        Fungido and Itang in Ethiopia
        Malakal
        Yirol
        you will meet many others
        coming from
        Pinyudo, in Ethiopia
        and the chain
        continues to be linked
        through Kongor and Ponchala, Akon, Babanusa,
        Kosti(on the White Nile), Ler,
        Safaha, Lokichokio, Yei, Narus,
        Pibor, Kapoeta, Abu Hamed, Dongola, Asmara, Shendi,
        Wad Medani, El Obeid, El Fasher, Kafia Kingi, Kodok,
        Jebelein, Darfur, Kordofan, Torit, Ngangala, Bor,
        Magwe, Atbara, Wadi Halfa,
        Port Sudan, Omdurman
        and you are caught in the
        crossfire
        between the Arab north
        and the black south
        but you
        keep
        walking
        hoping to find
        Bishop Taban Paride
        who has also
        walked
        forty-five miles or more
        and don’t concern
        yourselves that
        the world is famine-fatigued
        having seen too many of your skeletal bodies
        their greedy eyes
        gazing blankly at your
        black bones, because you have no skin
        because what food is available
        is stolen
        and this government
        has sided with the Sudanese government
        so no relief is
        coming,
        like Leland and the fourteen others
        and you must forgive the
        younger ones who are helping the armies
        who are shooting you
        or gassing you
        or raiding
        the refugee camps
        while you sleep
        or pray
        or prepare your souls for a good death
        many of you
        are too weak
        to swat flies
        or stand
        or eat, with your bellies protruding not
        from being full but
        empty
        and you must all
        walk
        walk now
        to Baidoa
        and Mogadishu
        in Somalia
        food is
        coming
        they will
        feed you there
        for awhile
        you can get
        something to eat
        if you can just
        walk
        there


AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Random Contributor
Ali Al Saeed Biography
Navigation
Newsletters