Whispering Trees

Written in response to Abubakar Adam Ibrahim: ‘The Whispering Trees

So your hopes are dashed,
And your mother is gone.
Weep if you will, then,
Keep in with the throng.
You still have your dignity,
You still can be strong
You still have your love
Which has lasted so long.

Come away, O blind man, come to us and play!
We have whispers and laughter, here the wild waters flow.
Come join your family, leave the weary world below,
One time you tried, but she summoned you away.

Oh it’s anger you want, then?
Try that if you will.
Live in your head then,
And struggle uphill.
Imagine they mock you
When they love you still:
Lash out and curse them,
And love sends its bill.

Come away, O blind man, come to us and play!
We have whispers and laughter, here the wild waters flow.
Come join your family, leave the weary world below,
Two times you tried, but she pushed you away.

Come find your dignity,
Let faith bring you peace
Forgive those who hurt you,
Let insight increase
Lay down your burden
Amidst the deceased
Give unto others
Till life grants release.

Come away, O blind man, come to us and play!
We have whispers and laughter, here the wild waters flow.
Come join your family, leave the weary world below,
Three times you’ll try, and the third time you’ll stay.

(OK wrong bit of world but the colours of the polar night are suitably eerie...)

(OK wrong bit of world but the colours of the polar night are suitably eerie…)

This week’s posts on the Caine Prize blog carnival:

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7 comments
  1. mj said:

    An inspirational post… I’ve been with it all day and your words echo in my head. How easy it is to give up and give in, to feel sorry and beg to die. How much harder to carry on living – but sometimes, no often, we must take the harder path.

    Thank you for this uplifting post.

    • Why thank you for the kind words! I urge you to read the short story which inspired it, linked at the top of the post. (Indeed all of those shortlisted for the Caine Prize are worth reading.)
      The structure of the refrain is unashamedly an echo of – though is pale in comparison with – W.B. Yeats’s ‘The Stolen Child’, which has the refrain ‘Come away, O human child, / To the waters and the wild / With a faerie hand in hand / For the world’s more full of weeping / Than you can understand.’ (I’ve written that from memory so excuse any errors!) That is a poem which always makes me teary-eyed (as does his ‘The Ballad of Moll Magee’).
      In the story ‘The Whispering Trees’ there is an episode where the central character visits the trees and meets a child – and the Yeats poem just lodged itself into my head.
      Read the story, and the others too 🙂

      • mj said:

        Of course, I read the story the Whispering Trees, and most carefully too (and before your poem too, as you intended it). Thank you also for pointing to Yeats’ poem. I have not read it but I will, immediately.

        Take care!

  2. Ahamed Rufai said:

    Thanks Kate. I’ll have to avail myself with a printed copy of this poetic review. It’s braillant! Please keep the creativity alive.

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