Three Poems by William Mpina

Let Napolo Return—and Return She Must

William Khalipwina Mpina


I spit invisible flames. They do not see it. Here I bow to beg

For the return of Napolo, the Queen of Floods and Water

Napolo must return—and return she must

For the Earth is hooked from its modesty to stumble

In a decaying vision. Both the vision and the dream are falling

—and yet they are telling us, ‘Don’t breakout!’ We try to run

Into the yellow light, but there they are pulling us back

Let the Queen of Floods and Water return—and return she must

To help me walk these idlest minds with torrents

The Earth is in trouble. Stories they tell us smell like cow’s fart

And when we feel like we want to vomit, we walk out of muddle

To meet skeletons of transformation who might have heard a different story

—We are shaking, and hey! They are shaking too

For they have a version more decorated than ours

Damn it! Let the Queen return—and return she must


To Earth is woe. To us is woe.

And they have no determination to smoke it out

The towering hills nearby laugh at us, poor souls

How it pains to lose our brains while we are still young—

And keep on watching the talking and assembling of rotten ideas

As though, by means of magic, they will become less ugly

Drying rivers of reason whisper every day. How suffocating it is

To kill vibrant virtues and think nepotism can outlast

In matters of national significance. Two, three hands

Sewn together for a purpose would have been better

If greed greeted not with wings— but a few knows

Wings are not hands to be trusted—wings are wings

And hands are hands. Let the Queen return—and return she must


Stories they tell us are about their subterfuges, it’s like we

Should switch off lucid sounds of hope from rain clouds

To believe that clouds cannot provide for the Earth

Surely, these elites have water for their brain

Let the Queen return—and return she must

To the mountain, to spit floods

To run over the skin of this stupidity

For the sake of protecting Mother Earth


Let the Queen return as she did a few years’ back

In gushes and howling of mighty wind. Napolo

Cleaned rust, removed dirt and slapped silliness

From the top of the mountain through the terrain

When it was cloudy; and stubborn hearts plundered Mother Earth

That was a sign of the end of catastrophic thoughts

Whose eyes could not watch the angel of Death standing tall

On the cliff where the lake of logic conversed with the whirl wind

Of revolution. Let the Queen return—and return she must

To remove anaemic trees, wretched stalks and cracked rocks

Dry leaves and fruitless population, of flora and fauna

Upon which they have set their traps to weaken Mother Earth

Binding freedom is the source of their joy, their power

And their peace while sadness and anger raise our temper


I spit invisible flames. My flames buzz like greedy bees

I spit invisible flames. My flames burn wet brooms

I spit invisible flames to break the wicked

I spit invisible flames to annihilate

That which Napolo should carry to the grave

I pray for Napolo to return—and return she must

To wash away cobwebs blocking the beauty of Mother Earth

New shoots of peace must freely sprout on Mother Earth’s face.

The Earth shouldn’t be Crying

Rain clouds crushed after two months of pouring

Then years of no planting shadowed years of idling

And, like evening sunrays our slim souls fold

Heart-break was the wind that blew in every household

The Earth was parched—and no flowers flourished

Plentiful were the signs and scars of fading strength

Of bodies falling topsy-turvy like rotten pawpaw fruits,

Puffing and gasping like hunter dogs

Now the Earth is a ball of glass sitting in our hands

While our fingers as deafening as wailing wipers

Cruelly caress its face writhing in pain. Think twice!

The Earth is a woman sleeping in our hold, to live in a bondage

Of imagining how ruthless life would be

With more years of praising scanty yields

Is an opinion for tactless minds—

The Earth is a baby that should not be crying as though our hands

Are weakened or soberness is captured by corruption

The Earth is our City to own and to protect

That no one should be bitter to destroy it

A shovel full of humble hearts to rehabilitate its pastures

Into acres of chlorophyll sheets must gather to rekindle

The fire of rebirth, miraculous rebirth of the ruined Earth.

Call it an Insult


My heart is a bomb petrified by your aplomb

My heart is a balloon inflated like a catacomb

Me a black ant crawling towards a nest of insults

I am the torch light directed at a thick wall-like umbrella

I am the grass thatched roof about to be blown-off

By wrathful wind because of good moments spoiled 

I choose to write this poem that won’t excite you much

You won’t like it because there’s something within

That make you not ready to hear what I attempt to say

Well, I will pause for a moment for you to calm down

Upon which I will play some music to drive you to the scene

Where your hidden snake will unfold into my mouth

Just to see the whole of your face blooming bright

And you being excited, you will put off your awkwardness

And listen to my poem. I will do that because you are the only

Audience to the consumption of this poem

And I have to make sure feelings of victory

Are incited up to the point of release of that milky venom

I want you to reach a point of blowing the trumpet, confessing

While my legs are open that you have won the race

I know by nature you win by spitting venom & vomiting shit

But for me it is a wishful sacrifice, no matter what happens

To make sure that you are very close to me, very soft to me

–and you are very free to listen to my poem


Call it an insult but do you remember?

I am the maid fished from the hills of Dzalanyama

Born and raised in the hills, trained as a lumberjack

Call it an insult but do you remember?

I am the maid you turned into a wife

I feel sorry for Anne your first wife, when I remember

How she travelled that long distance in search of me

I can’t remember how it started

But because of greed, upon seeing me

You saw a wife that was to replace her

It was not because of love that you took your maid

And turn her into a wife. No, it was not love

It was your likeness for babies

Well, I met Anne this morning. When she looked at me

I shed tears for she said: ‘Shame on him

He took you just to deflate your buttocks and spoil your beauty.’

I bowed down, and thought about this poem that won’t excite you

This poem is not about Anne, and every woman like Anne

It’s about me whose beauty stinks now—because of you

You sent Anne packing to put me into a test tube of sorrow

Anne is better off. She stinks while she lives alone

I stink while I am with you

I stink load shedding while I am with you

I stink fuel shortage while I am with you

I stink corruption while I am with you

I stink, stink, stink, and stink while you eat policy reforms with gusto

My face is a farm of shame while my deflated buttocks

A bundle of insults


Call it an insult but choose one

I must leave you or you must leave me

No matter which side you belong

I am down in the dumps with everything you messed

The pitiable you milked, the premature you ate

The insane you raped, the poor you cheated

And the witchcraft that refuse to leave you

And those stools you offloaded in a Marcopolo Bus

While at a vacation by the lake.

William Khalipwina Mpina is Malawian poet, fiction writer, Economist and Data Analyst. Much of his works appear in a large number of international literary magazines and journals, and in over ten local anthologies. He did his university education at Chancellor College in Zomba where he was a member of Chancellor College Writers Workshop. A co-editor of Walking the Battlefield and Tilembe Newsletter of the Malawi Union of Academic and Non-Fiction Authors, Mpina’s books include Mooning the Morning (2022), Princess from the Moon (2020), Shattered Dreams (2019), Blood Suckers (2019), Shadows of Death and other poems (2016), Namayeni (2009) and Njiru (2003).

Art by Andrew Florides

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