• Mike Gould

Ode to Belly Mujinga

My poem to rail worker, Belly Mujinga.
















Ode to Belly Mujinga

Let’s say it plainly, I did not know you,

Had to read about your journey to here, to this,

To a station concourse and your own brief encounter;

No kiss, but something more obscene and fatal.

The ending of a journey that began in Congo,

Your epitaph is a wide smile across a tabloid’s page,

Such love something a hate-crime can’t erase.

Your name both beautiful and bold:

A rich, proud, eloquent word that says

I am here – wife, mother, daughter,

Not that thing you picture lying cold

In some distant isolation ward.

It’s difficult to find solace in such sadness,

To find succour from the madness.

Yet the thing that wrenches at our heart is good,

Reminds us that we should not isolate the soul,

Should draw around us those we love,

But also those we find hard to love

Or would not miss.

I did not know you,

Had to read about your journey to here, to this.

I’m just a stranger typing words to send across the air,

If you like, a sort of prayer.


Mike Gould May, 2020

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