Malawian African griot Khalipwina Mpina, your nerve nudging -heart tilting poetry is the lingua franca of bleeding hearts (Mooning the Morning collection), a critical review by Mbizo Chirasha

While Malawi former (Nyasaland) is endowed with red-clay fertile soils, the gift of abundant dialects, the blessing of variegated cultural rhythms, wonderment of a dedicated human mass that carry nuggets of tenacity and love gems within their heart-frames/mind shafts. This land is counted amongst the most peace-loving country, since the demise of the great Ngwazi, Kamuzu Banda, the last /all powerful African Napoleon of all times ruled Malawi up until to his grave – a rich though controversial political history- a delicious fodder to the poet-writer/griots of the land

. Although this great land of great Ngwazi is an endowment of wonders, mixed political clout/wealth / rich soils, mighty rivers and more. Malawi is decorated  by deep- historical boils, revolutionary wounds, ideological/cultural scars that were carved unto its humanity/ moral marrow from days and nights of ravaging colonial regimes up to the days of the heavily iron-fisted/steely -gloved African Napoleon Ngwazi, Kamuzu Banda unrepentant dictator and first ruler of independent Malawi until political rough parch of the Bingu and the Mutharika dynasty. And now the land after many prayer sessions is presided upon by a man of cloth,

Malawi remains a paradox.

This  introductory reportage is an effort by the reviewer to compliment the prowess and poetic chronicles of  this African -Malawian  poet of the people  and the griot of the land  William Khalipwina Mpina  as he uses his poetic dexterity  to decode pain from the hearts of his people ,  raves their minds with verbose simplicity , entertains/nudges their nerves with toned down adages  and concurrently  ripples their blood with both head busting verse  , laughter is aroused  with smiles blooming like rose petals  in some of the poems , a coterie of mixed feelings . Remember this poetry expose’ is dripped by  bowls of tears of the masses chlorinating aged scars that have become birthmarks of this land of contradictions.

The dream withers without a red flag

Sirens breaking the morning market noise

The wind blows to bring betrayal

Sudden darkness to witness crushing of ideas

As silently Kampepuza rolls

To poke sores of scolded souls

Taken or picked up like army worms

Unpleasant to those whose

God the market was

When tears are stirred in their sacs

Only memories wipe, whisper stories

Of sunbathed pain and sorrow

This above excerpt is adapted from a powerful/strong but stubbed poem Kampepuza. The poem and more others are an expose of a people at crossroads, the land that is dipped in pain, rending poverty and life-sapping sorrow. This intentionally shortened but suspense -rimmed poem depicts moral discord that might have been derived from several years of political murkiness and moral decadence. And it is the role of griots to chronicle the pain /truth/poverty/success/wonders of their land/country. To observe and write of their experiences both sound /dull and bad/good

Black nights and dusky days

Long black days and white gloves

Hiss in the mind’s ceiling

Greeting black shadows

Scratching despairing black hearts

Masking wheels of time

Sinking in buckets of questions

Black nights and dusky days sing

Of a new dawn in a whirlwind

Slapping sweetness of groaning

Without pain like a sleeping swine

Basking in a confined cabin

Gazing at the setting Sun

While the poet-griot author is an educationist, his chronicles are didactic, his poetic nuggets are both metaphoric and candid- the griot writes/pens these soul -rending psalms with a heavy heart. His versifications are a proof that he never had experienced peace /love/passion in his youthful days and he is still hunting for fruits of peace, freedom and happiness. He is famished of love.  His suns set every day and they never rise – such are disparities of life. The dimples of his country are incessantly bathed in tears. He sees humiliation, lives in decadence, walks in segregation and experiences neo-colonialism. One of his introductory poems Africa is not a drum – the poet spits unto the corrupt-charged  face of the capitalistic community/master-architects of  neo colonialism without mincing his verbiage , In Africa is not a drum , the griot-poet-chronicler – African literary  warrior  is ready for a revolution, he turns into a militant writer , a fighter for  truth and for the  defence  of his  Africa-land- surely Africa is not a drum , cannot remain a drum and will never be a drum again.

His candid -revolutionary poetry fist knows no sacred cows. He goes on to undress political wounds and social /moral boils as they prick his heart- his poems remain emotionally charged and truth packed- they are candid. He clamours for the release of his fellow countrymen and himself from the grind of political short- changing and bondage of pseudo-revolutionary turncoats looting the wealth of the land and fruits of freedom alone. The griot exclaimed that My Country is in War Bus

My country is a war bus

Coughing from political smoke

Dressing wounds

Smelling of a dead dog–

Traversing the burning flame

The war bus

The passengers

The loyalty

The scent of human blood

The flywhisk of power

The silent majority

The cry in the wilderness

This great literary expose Mooning the Morning is anchored by vivid imagery, verbal prowess and more other literary nuggets like witticism and dexterity.  This poem and not only this one, it is like a short -film fizzy-pop popping with suspense, pace, beat and serenading rhythm- the verses arouses your mental tendrils to dance and your heart valves to jive. The discord nudges your gut with pain while the syntax and the beat within send the reader to jive- dexterity/real poetry

I epilogue this review instalment with the Language of the Bleeding Heart.

Blood stirred in a bowl of tears

Listens to the language of

The big drum, watering stories

Of sunbathed pain, of sorrowful resoluteness

While suckers stomping on pink lawns, wisdom

Breaking in pots of empty visions and dreams

Reason reversed or left behind, bows and arrows

Sip philosophies of the starry-eyed

Waving at robots brushing sores

of a bleeding heart

This scintillating but mind -boggling poetry collection is an exhibition of the sorrows, painful experiences, the moral grind, a myriad of political discord and social /economic eyesore as experienced by the poet-chronicler-writer/griot and his people. He sees the pain of the boiling country in the teary eyes of poor children he teaches every day, he watches intriguing short films of sorrow through the shrivelling breasts of mothers surrendering lives in the streets of suffering. He reads longform wrinkled facial pages of poverty marinated vendors- surely the language of the bleeding hearts. Mooning of the Morning Night is a dark story   of a country/people/land disembowelled by political disharmony, moral discord and social/cultural decadence

Author of the reviewed  book ,Mooning the Morning,William Khalipwina Mpina is a Malawian poet, fiction writer, Economist and Data Analyst. His writing reflects on the mundane and the everyday experiences. Many of his works appear in online international literary magazines such as Kalahari Review, Literary Shanghai, Writers Space Africa, African writer, Nthanda review, Scribble Publication, Atunis Galaxy Poetry, Poetica and Expound Magazine; and in over ten local anthologies. A co-editor of ‘Walking the Battlefield’ and ‘Tilembe Newsletter’ of Malawi Union of Academic and Non-fiction Authors, Mpina has contributed verses in international anthologies such as Lockdown 2020, On the Road, A New World: Rethinking our lives post pandemic, Writing Robotics: Africa versus Asia, Christmas, Childhood, Friends & Friendships, Culture & Identity, The Trick is to keep Breathing, Family, Fixing Earth: Africa, UK and Ireland Writers Anthology  etc. His books include Princess from the Moon (2020), Shattered Dreams (2019), Blood Suckers (2019), Shadows of Death and other poems (2016), Namayeni (2009) and Njiru (2003).

The Book Reviewer(Mbizo Chirasha)

Mbizo Chirasha chief -curator at Pan-WritersCaravan, Head of content at AfricanWilliamBlake.publisher of Time of the Poet Republic, founder at Womaword literary Press. curator/editor of Voices of Africa: A Call for freedom ( of Corpses of Unity anthology with Kenneth Toa Mala of Cameroon in solidarity with civil victims of Cameroon. project curator/co-editor of Second Name of Earth is Peace( with David Swanson. co-editor of the bilingual German/English digital anthology Street Voices with Andreas Weiland.african contributor to Demer press international poetry anthology series with Hannie Rouweler. World Poetry Almanac poetry series with Hadaa Sendo of Mongolia.essayist, poet and panafrican editor and african writivism laureate at ihraf publishes with Thomas Block. live literature hub /word fiesta producer at Sotambe Film and Arts Festival 2019. resident coordinator of All of Africa 100 Thousand for peace- global with Michael Rothenberg. African Writing Associate with Jamie, A poet a day, the with poetry chef Michael Dickel. Oxford School of poetry/Blackwell Pamphlet of poetry with Kirsten Norrie Contributing essayist to Monk Arts and Soul Magazine with Sophie levy Burton. poet in residence of the Fictional Café, an American but pan international writers’ space with Jack.B. Rochester. initiating the WordCitylit journal  international journal to promote literary diversity, dialogue among civilizations with Darcie Friesen Hossack.


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