Portrait of a Farmer

By James Onono Ojok

She planted her seeds
Waited and weeded
Weeded in tune with tending
And hoped for a better yield
When rain delayed
She laboured with calabash and can
in hand
As she desired a better yield
Darling of the garden
A gardener by origin
Her home village adorned with Tugu palm
Their jewel like fruit cherished in her ancestral home
But the garden of her mind held greater fruits.
Her nation proclaimed the glory of mighty Tugu
Those crops which survived the sun
Had stood still on the hill top
awaiting harvest.
With expectation of bounty
She went to the garden again
A royal arrow cut her down
She cried to no one, “Take care of my harvest!”
Strong blind wind passed by with other harvest
But her garden still stands on the hilltop.
Foreigners enjoy the fruit she planted
As the gardener lies down
Even though she made a wish . . .
That God should protect her harvest
Like a caring farmer.
Everywhere I have looked for her
In my dreams
I have sought for her
Where her garden hangs on the hilltop
Bushes are eating up the hilltop
Though strangers enjoy her crops
She hears no more
She waves as in vision
Her wish
That God should protect her harvest,
For those who need it
For those who care
For those coming with a clean heart.
The caring farmer
Kept her garden
Kept it for strangers
Never did she enjoy her sweat
The caring farmer
Prays for her harvest
Prays for her garden
If you see a woman
Teaching her child
Unborn in her womb,
Tell them both about the uncertainty of the world
Let them know about the caring farmer.