Every time I read this powerful poem I am moved deeply by the description of horrors and violence in North Uganda. We could choose to tell the story of our own disasters, failures and sins or choose to tell the story of Jesus, He is the one that keeps us upright. The only way of making sense of suffering is knowing that we have God who entered in…everything about HIm is beautiful.
Because I love this Land
I hold a thousand tears
in the cup of my skinny hand
I carry ten thousand wails
in the deep hollows of my ears
I host a million bloated babies
in the deep brown of my eyes
I house ten million graves
in the curls of my thinning hair
I have stored pouches upon pouches of pus
in the blisters of my heart
So we do not talk about them; we do not sing about them
How can we sing of things we do not know?
How will we sing about old men’s guts eaten out by hunger,
old men’s eyes closed for fear of watching axes tear the heads off their grandchildren?
How can we explain missing ears, lips, noses,
lone limbs traversing the land without their owners?
How can we ever talk about these things
without tumours of bitterness teeming in our hearts?
No wonder we are silent.
I will not talk about them
I will talk of other things
Of the man who hung naked on a tree and sweated sorrow for us.
I will only sing of water and blood flowing out of a side and a voice that whispered
‘It is finished’.
I can speak about a glory
wrapping darkness in a shroud
and storing it in an eternal grave.
I will dwell on love of a heavenly prince
clothed in earthly tatters
fighting swindlers in the temple of God.
I will tell of a little child talking to bearded men about His Father’s Love.
I will sing about a risen Son and transcending peace.
I will dance of the victory of love embracing love
This is the only way I can ever walk upright.
The only way I can ever walk upright.
The only story I can bear to tell.
The story God calls us to live – a story in which violence does not have the final word.
Susan Kiguli, a Ugandan poet