#110. Floetry by JulietKego: Nwam, Chelu!

Sickle Cell
Nwam, chelu! Chelu!
Child of my womb, wait! wait!
Do not be in such a haste
To find your path
back to the other worlds of spirits.
Sit here, on my laps,
beside your father’s fireplace.
You shiver so,
Your lips whiten so.
Come closer; let me feel your forehead;
Ewooooo! So hot, you burn with fever so,
But with what do you really boil,
O child of my womb?
Do you burn with anticipation
or with anxiety?
Nwam, Sit down! Sit down!
Talk to me my child, talk to your mother
Let us talk, from one lost soul to another.
Is it the cold or the harmattan winds?
Do they bother you?
Tell me fast, and watch me make my home
a haven of comfort for you, my child.
Your intestines vomit everything within,
See how sickly you look.
Biko nu, omalicha nwam, whisper softly in my ears,
I swear on Amadioha, that I shall not be vexed
Does my soup taste that bad?
I will make it tastier than Nne Ike’s cooking.
With special dry asa fish and ogiri.
Tell me! Tell me!
Eh, child of my womb.
Should I dance the ijele naked
on nkwo market day, in the market square?
Should I cleanse and renew myself?
Or do I ask Asa, the beautiful one,
who shames angels with her voice,
To sing lullabies all night for you?
Did I trouble and give you discomfort
while you were within me
When I bent to sow my ukwa seeds
in the planting seasons past?
Is the breastmilk from my bosom
too watery and tasteless for you?
Tell me o nwam, and I shall hire a wet nurse for you
Was my sac of womanhood too hot or too cold?
Or is it so comfortable that you seek to go back inside me
Over and over again!
Answer me! Answer me!
What angers you? Why this anguish?
Did we walk the earth together in lives past?
Was I your foe who did you grave wrong?
Is this justice? Is this retribution?
Nwam, child of my womb,
Nnennem! Nnennam! Nnedim!
Are you your grandmothers come back to life?
Did your children forsake you?
Did we dishonor you?
The linings of my womb grow old and wrinkled
The rains of stormy seasons
shower heavily on your mother,
I am becoming old woman, grey and feeble
This vessel can no longer hold you
for another nine moons.
Oh child of my womb!
Nwam, chelu! chelu!
Do not drive me faster to my tomb.
I have cried tears of blood
I have bled waters of pain.
Tell them,
those spirits of ‘Ogbanje’ and ‘abiku’
To stop the beating of the seductive talking drums,
Use the oja, play the loud sounds of the ogene
There shall be no homecoming this time around.
Chastise them!
Plead with them!
Ignore them!
Nwam, tell them that which is in your heart:
Tell them that you have decided to live
Tell them that you are finally home with me!
I wrote this poem when I was between 15-16 years, and still in high school. A friend of mine had lost a sibling to sickle cell anaemia. It was the third sibling he’d lost to the disease.
He would also pass on from the same disease a few months later. In all, his mother buried all but one child. Hajia Sukai, I salute your grace, your beauty, your strength. You are love personified!
(This poem edicated to all sister-friends around the globe (indeed, all women), who’ve suffered the challenges and pain of miscarriage, stillborn child, (and any loss of a child or ward)…. And to all children with sickle-cell anaemia, who were wrongly labelled with the stigma of ‘Ogbanjes’ ‘abikus’…
Please support all initaitives in your community to enhance child mortality and provide women with adequate access to quality healthcare. As we rock our designer cars, frocks and bags, lets also support one another. Let’s look good, DO good and feel good! ‪#‎TogetherWeAllRISE‬
We CAN do more and it starts with a single step! A huge thank you to all of you who’ve quietly joined Whole Woman Network’s T.R.A.C.E and ‪#‎SEED4Her‬ campaigns. Please contact me if you’re interested (info@wholewomannetwork.com).
We’re spreading these programs by word-of-mouth and quietly creating change one person at a time…..xoxo Cyber-hugs, Jules
P.S: I am so grateful for and thankful for my dad, for diligently keeping very single thing I ever wrote, crappy or not (and for editing my grammar and spellings with his bright red parker pen) :-). May your soul continue to rest in peace, Amen! I miss you loads, and yet I know you’re always here.

4 thoughts on “#110. Floetry by JulietKego: Nwam, Chelu!

  1. This is a heart-wrenching poem, Jules. And to think you wrote this at such an early age sends the pain more deeper.

    On your campaigns… I’m interested, although you’d have to let me know any way you think I could be of help.

    Keep balming lives through poetry, and all.


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