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Two poems by Arinda Daphine

With her politically loaded texts the performing poet and social justice lawyer Arinda Daphine calls for action. She wants to awaken her audience and contribute to change in Uganda — a country struggling with violence and corruption. In two poems written especially for Pen/Opp: “Dirge for Orwell’s Political Purpose”, and “In mind of 2020” she depicts the situation in the country during the corona pandemic.

Credits Text: Arinda Daphine Photo: Ninnojackjr photography June 16 2020


Scrutiny junkies poking for inspiration in hives of stingers
Asking too much
Speaking too much

Tellers of stories

The year is twenty twenty
The plans were quite plenty
Now life pulses faintly.
In lieu of the pop of champagne
Cities lie still in quarantine
To curb a virus numbered nineteen.

In Tanzania
Which is quite near
Fear creeps like a noir
Spirit of silence
Writers of columns
Sayers of scripts
Cower beneath the heavy breath of the jungle king

In Uganda
The Man King Rukirabashaija;
Torture marks on his feet,
Lurks in the darkness of a system by the flick.

By the flick civilians are remanded militarily
By the flick anchors are intimidated verily
And the carrion of coffers carries on merrily

By the flick the President speaks on the television
Relays a configuration of confusion
Says everything is a 1986 war analogue
Says nothing of the catalogue of forbidden dialogue.

When the Shepherd’s flicks cease
And all the flock succumb to disease
Recorded words will be the world’s last sneeze.



Here the spell on writer is:
Forgotten and old school,
Taught in school and forsaken,
Devoid of pay and position;
Deployed in Paris and pompous.

In the news, iconic nudes
Not the deeds
Of the anticipated aspirant with military rank,
The target of a treason attack.

When the tongue lashes
It cares not for the character it assassinates
When the lake belches
Its concern is not for what it regurgitates
The charming rapporteur, inculpate:
Harming the nation with deceit
Barring racketeering from the retina.

Eno Loko Dawuni
Naku za duka-duka
Abaazukulu mu kaduukulu,
Victims of the infractions
Of the ‘dog go, dog sit’ instructions

Certainty fizzles as seasons of drizzles and sun mingle,
Beguiling calm over bubbling rage –

No chanting catechists
Or chattering merchants;
No Nile brew panacea
Along Rue de Acacia;

Boisterous gossip;
Loony boy­s in the loop;
Dwindling food supply by the tick;
Drowning tides on the Vic ─

The timing is impeccable for the dirge.

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