Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Breaking of Bones (poem)

No-one advices me more than my grandmother.
(She’s often complaining but that is neither here nor there.)
Four foot seven, and definitely going to Heaven,
This diminutive figure is as tough as they come.
She’s lived through famines, floods, earthquakes,
World war, civil war, trade wars and colonialization.
She has given birth, raised kids and buried a husband.
She has seen rulers and their regimes come and go -
She’s so jaded that little can shock her now.

After breaking a leg recently, she lay in hospital for over a month.
I went to see her and found that she was still in a cast
And, I swear, she was watching professional wrestling.
I said, ‘Grandma, I can’t believe you’re still in that thing.’
She said,’ Believe me I’m not wearing it as a fashion statement.
And talking of fashion,that shirt needs ironing.’
Her eyes momentarily shifted from me to the TV
Where her favourite wrestler was stepping into the ring.
I said: ‘Continue watching that and soon the only thing
You’ll be looking at is an electrocardiograph.’
She squeaked: ‘Nonsense! And let me tell you something:
When a bone heals, the broken part becomes so strong
That it’s unlikely to ever break again. It’s interesting
Because life’s crises often leave us much the better:
If something doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.
Now keep quiet because I want to watch the Main Event!
And I can’t believe you brought me juice instead of milk.
Milk is rich in calcium – didn’t school teach you anything?’

Grandma’s back on her own two feet now
And if grandpa, bless him, thinks she’s joining him soon,
Then the grumpy old man is building castles in the air
Because grandma still has several more years in her.
She may have taken many a severe blow
But she’s stronger in the broken places.

(c) Alex N Nderitu

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