How wronged we thee, Grim Reaper?
That thou failest not to reach yet deeper,
Into our idyll chest of placid joy,
To steal our smiles, though we be calm and coy?
What offence hath the little bairn,
who yet suckles at his mother’s breast?
Or the unripe teen who for a future doth yearn,
That thou pluck’st them in their prime-fest?
Is not our hearts full of the sordid tale,
Of thine blind onslaught on our race and kind?
Have not our bread turned sour and stale,
As we dread your coming, with fear in our mind?
We groan helplessly, as we bear this curse:
Our lifeless children, still, beside a weeping nurse,
Time and time again, we scribble down a death-date;
We wipe our drenched eyes, as we welcome our fate.
And the earth, ne’er weary to swallow
The bodies that you coerce us give it;
Is full of musty bones of our gone fellow,
Severed, each one from the other bit.
Thy treachery overt on our scroll as a myth,
As we be hacked daily by thy cruel scythe;
We live each day, your dread vivid in our hearts,
As we wonder why so haply you ax us down like rats.
This tyranny, you administer to us,
Caring not about the thick tear on our cheeks;
With gravest loathe, you grant us no relief,
You plucked your own eyes, just to wreak mischief.
And now, terror abideth in our fretful hearts,
As by our ears whiz your fiery death-darts;
Every man in his tent, with his mourning retinue,
Enslaved by fate, helplessly await you.
Our young’uns you cut down in their prime,
Our olden ones you left not in your craze;
You come in a-sudden–you give none a time,
But root us up, in the morn of our days.
Our mighty men fallen, our gates doth quiver,
Yet, you gulp us down your bottomless belly!
What is it we owe thee, gold or silver–
That thou takest our lives as bait cruelly?
Break away, Reaper, let us alone!
Let thine sickle cease to scrape our bone…
Daily, at even-tide, deep elegies we drone,
As we behold thee pluck that which wombs hath sown.
“Death hath done it again…!” we cry each day,
See, last night’s tear yet hang on our cheeks;
And ere our eyes be dry, another you take away,
Leaving us with abysmal fear, as steadily the clock ticks.
Our waters, chameleoned into blood,
We gnash and turn pleaful faces to God.
We pray, not for thy demise, for that cannot be-
But for shelter and present escape from thee.
Thou that kill’st us, and cannot be killed;
Wilt thou go scot-free for the blood you have spilled?
Nay, but soon shall come the day,
When you shall account for our folks you did slay.
Tho’ before thee, Reaper, I am but a pinch of flour,
And thou canst sink thy claws into my heart any hour;
One thing I know ’bout thee, Sire,
Is, that thou and hell, shall blaze in the Lake of fire.
meet the poet: Arc Ani Onyedikachi Michael
I am a member of the WRR editorial team.