Home 9 Literary Journal 9 Volume 21 9 Volume 21 Poetry 9 Adipo Sidang’ – “how to mourn a country”

Adipo Sidang’
“how to mourn a country”

how to mourn a country

a country trickles like an ebbing

creek inside the body of a dying man

if rivers run dry this is how they do –

feeble breathing hiccups organ failure

the city clock violently strikes noon

as if the minute hand is a machete

or unhinged arm of a collapsing cyclone

in the womb of pregnant woman

if you’d been here on time

you’d have witnessed a hapless little bird

crash into the window of the cathedral

inside there’s a mouse that hasn’t eaten for days

a man on his knees turns into debris

a bell tolls like a divine siren

everyone is glued to their TVs

the choir sings like a night bird

undisturbed by the dark

if this country dies she must lie in state

inside that cathedral


Adipo Sidang’ is a Kenyan poet and playwright. His first poetry collection Parliament of Owls was published in 2016 by Native Intelligence under the Contact Zones Nairobi Series. In 2017 he adopted the title poem into a stage play and has been performed by his theatre group Agora Theatre; the play is now a literary text in Kenyan high schools. His coming-of-age novella A Boy Named Koko won the 2017 Burt Awards (Kenya). Sidang’ was part of the jury for Goethe Institute’s 2018 Afro-Young Fiction Competition for young adult fiction competition from Africa. He has previously taught Philosophy in Kenyan universities. You can connect with him on Twitter @AdipoSidang