[for George Egbuchulam]


The oxygen mask

the tubes

the tapes

the poles

and all those sachets of healing fluids

dangling and dripping from them


and the pain

and the pain—


your hand, gripping mine, trying to communicate

the searing pain coursing through your body—


did your hand gripping mine carry to you

the pain strung from my own entrails?


I recall, all too clearly, there were no mottled shadows of death

in your eyes: no flickering trace of any kind of

any such shadow—familiar  not from memory

but from tales and dreams—did I see


and your panting speech concealed no parting wish:


I heard nothing even remotely hinting at autopsy

or embalmment or rites of passage of any kind—


I heard nothing, absolutely nothing, even

remotely hinting at secret grievances and

hidden fears and concealed passions


it was food you asked for

food and a drink of glucose…


were they the emissaries of God—

those trained and unfeeling hands that

cordoned your bed off beyond the reach

of all human prayers and hopes—


were they the emissaries of God ?


was it really over

when they wheeled you away in a gurney?


was it really over

as I stood there in that ward—clutching a useless

blood requisition form meant for the blood bank?


It’s not true, George—it’s really not true:


           some kind of painful sight can, indeed, make

the human eye shed blood—it’s just that

no eye, no human eye, can see such blood—


the blood that  flowed down my cheeks

as I stood there in that ward—my knees sagging

under the unbearable weight of the unanswered

prayer that your name1  has now become.


1[George’s surname, Egbuchulam, in Igbo, means: Don’t-kill-me-too-early]


Hyginus Ekwuazi is a multiple award winning poet and literary artist. This poem is written in honour of a young friend of his, George Egbuchulam who passed on in Ibadan late 2012 after a fight with cancer. Find information on Hyginus Ekwuazi here.






Some all-rounded writer with the wits to turn anything and everything to words with inspiration... cheering to glory and on...

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