Prostrate here in humble grief, I lie
In this foul-smelling and awful cubicle.
What with me do you want, O Justice?
Ain’t your vows to ruin my innocence?
My castle of confine! My dwelling! My cell!
Long enough have I known your hermitage
Your stonewalls of miseries to me have grown
Strong yet solemn, stiff yet stern, solid yet sober.
Alone I sit with sorrow – a crushed heart.
Her misery melody swell in my soul,
At every morn’s rise, at every dusk’s fall;
Only to wake to all grieves I’ve left behind.
Barriers – confines of steel bars make not a jail
Nor Hopelessness ‘ts grimly long days and nights
Solitary makes a gaol, Love loves not ‘ts inmates
Hate hates him, Joy despises, and Innocence scoffs.
My cell bars, I cling to in murmur
Of virtue and guilt that dwell in my heart.
Night after night the floor – my bed
Comforts this wretched contempt-held frame.
My tears are ruin on innocence
An idle petition to honor and guilt
I – a nonentity carry a flag with a crest; Innocence n’ Injustice
Emblazed on ‘t everywhere, and to everyone I supplicate.
If some commoner steals a lid, he’ll be hung
By the praise-singers of a man who stole a kettle.
The world knows no surer justice than this;
Which offers a rich thief a rope to lynch the poor.
When I was young my feelings were never troubled
I wish I’m innocent again, that I bear no distrust to Society –
A mother of twin sisters – Justice n’ Injustice
Justice stripped me of dignity; her sister raped me of Innocence.
Justice – a masked naïve slut called
Sweet n’ kind-hearted by the wealthy n’ rich;
They pay to lay her abed trifle Kobos –
For their pleasures n’ gratifications.
Injustice – an unmasked chaste called
Sinister n’ wrongful – our wanton’s twin of irony
Endearing the lowly to a claim of bride
Inspiring seeming passions in their hearts.
“Take him in. A delinquent, his place is the gaol
Do your time. Be Law’s spiteful outcast.” Justice rants.
“The lawful is cheated if Lawbreakers are without punishment.”
This is the fairness the world (you ‘n I) advertise.
But, I know not whether this naked hunger my slender maiden
Bears in her eyes when they burn into mine be wrong
Or whether her twin – Justice, be right?
I’ve heard their stern voices, I know better.
I know better – hypocrisy, not folly
Of our blindfolded maiden,
I know her discretions: the Rich rule the Law,
Law grinds the poor.
I crave to find release, but
my troubles, my misgivings are for all seasons
Our mother of twins – a slut n’ a chaste
Did you give me the best of you?
Rearing me in the brutalized influence of poverty n’ crime
What do you really want to know?
I’m sorry for said crime I bear society?
No! Rather, Society owes me debts – more than it can’t repay.
Justice! ‘m I a silly fool consumed by expectance?
Remind me what I was told about you in my malleable years.
Have you forever vanished like a gone hallucination?
Sound forth O your trumpet; leave my heart to ‘ts grief!
© Ugo Nkwoala,
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