A song for Amebo

by Noel Ihebuzor 

SPEAK SOFTLY AND SLOWLY……

Speak softly and of the dead
Speak slowly of the stiff and still
Of those whose voices stilled now into permanent silence
suffocated by depth and stuffed with sand
yet refuse to be still
Speak softly of the dead, of those
Whose silent tongues tug at the sleeves of our conscience

Speak softly of the living, slowly speak
Speak softly of their wrongs which you see clearly
With your assured lenses and your clean sanitized soul
Speak low, softly and slowly of their follies even as you have none
Speak softly of their wines, wenches and wives
Of their waywardness, of their wickedness and their weaknesses
Of their wiles and woes, of their filth and their follies
and their unworthiness even as you are clean

Speak softly and slowly of the dead and of the living
For so too shall the living dead speak of you
When beneath the sand and earth
Eyes open but blank and not seeing
ears though open yet deaf as wood
you see them and hear them
You struggle to re-speak the wrongs you spoke
When your tongue was free and swift and slippery
And your pen was quick and easy, broad and loud
Wild and wicked

Then shall you recall and regret the twists you gave to life
The lives you wrecked and the nerves you wracked
the shreds and tears you wreaked on the fabric of souls and persons
whose causes you loved to hate
and the smears and smudges you made on lives and those
whose histories you mangled

Speak softly of the dead
Since in death, your eyes free of life’s jaundice,
Your soul purified by the freshness of the grave
and the fresh scent of the raw sand
You may struggle with tongues then stiff as steel
And hands heavy as timber
To revisit the past present, to right the wrongs you wrought,
And in vain
To heal the hurts you may have caused

(Note for the reader: Amebo is the gossip and character assassin, who rejoices in and finds fulfilment in the failings and shortcomings of others, and derives intense pleasure in narrating/painting these and blowing them up and often out of proportion)

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8 Responses to “A song for Amebo”


  1. 1 Susan L Daniels April 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Beautiful, and calls to mind the passage in James about the tongue. We cannot undo what is spoken or written 🙂

  2. 2 earthslang April 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Yes, I agree with the above. You gently suggest to us these words of wisdom. Such beautiful flow and expression.
    It also calls to mind, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” Thanks for sharing and for explaining Amebo.

  3. 5 theinveterateblogger April 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    In Indian Hindu Mythology, there’s a similar character called Narada, less of a character assassin but more of a gossip and mischief monger. I suppose every culture has it’s share of ‘Amebo’.

  4. 7 Susan L Daniels May 22, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Aha! This is the poem I was thinking of, with all of our references to words, and their power to build up or tear down this week–knew you did a much finer take on it 🙂


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