Immortelle – A Poem dedicated to my mother – By A. Happy Umwagarwa. 


Some emotions are hard to unscramble. Some experiences cannot be narrated in a book. How I wished she had burst into tears! She did not. She swallowed her pain so that we might not be chained by our country’s adversities.

I am talking about my mother. She closed her eyes on 17 November 2011, and did not wake up.

I hope you like this poem I wrote for her.


© 2018 A. Happy Umwagarwa
All Rights Reserved.




Her elder boys had left for war cry,
Her younger girls were left behind,
Our Father’s memory was only a tie,
The neighbors had turned unkind,
To wrongdoers, Immortelle did defy.

John the eldest was not seen nearby,
The lies soldiers told, we never mind,
We prayed to the Almighty our outcry,
Yes, death did always come to mind.
To mockers, Immortelle smiled to pacify

Cooking pots lined dry without supply,
Cigarettes smoke was for a frame of mind,
More of them would flutter like a butterfly,
Tea and soda cost a lot, bear in mind,
To life troubles, Immortelle did overfly.

Songs of victory we sung to qualify,
When called names, we felt unaligned,
The shapes of our noses were good in a pig’s eye,
The survivor stories we told were declined,
To hatred, Immortelle did not dignify.

Kisses we gave to tall guys to comply,
We were shamed by the lust of mankind,
Our ballooned bellies dominated the thigh,
We were mocked by those with unsound mind,
To humiliation, Immortelle did fly by.

Babies were hungry for a pumpkin pie,
Grandmother cuddles always predesigned,
Little angels’ smiles took her heart high,
Rags she collected, food she divined,
Scorners, Immortelle, you couldn’t mortify.

We, girls, she sent to school to fly high
Your father doesn’t rule, she said to remind.
To the boys, she said remain weather eye,
Landscapes she dug, flowers she redefined,
To nature, Immortelle did beautify

Stomachs empty, she said in life we thrive,
School bags unfilled, all you need a mind,
God have mercy at least they’ve tried,
With Mother’s prayers we didn’t resign,
To Immortelle, success could not come by.

To war uniforms, John said good-bye,
We, girls from school, English was refined,
Last born Strong drew rainbows as a spy,
Through pain and chains we sailed blind,
To immortelle, humankind kept an evil eye.

She mourned her husband without a cry,
She waited for sons, with a conscious mind,
Rainbow stories, they considered a lie,
Requiem songs, the powerful declined,
To Immortelle, sorrow did not liquefy.

Jailed in the sixties, she was terrified,
Cursed in the eighties it stayed in the mind,
Widowed in the nineties she couldn’t reconcile,
Sidelined in the aftermath, oh humankind,
To the world, Immortelle needed to overfly.

Queen give me a cup of tea when I am alive,
Diabetes weakens life I leave behind,
My body hurts and my eyes face the sky,
To Jerusalem, Rugamba sang to outshine,
In a white gown, Immortelle did fly.

Thanks for helping me to celebrate the life of Mama.

My name is Umwagarwa

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