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COURTESY OF ATIKA SCHOOL
THE PAUPER - KCSE ENGLISH POETRY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Read the following poem and then answer the questions that follow.
Pauper, pauper, craning your eyes
In all directions, in no direction!
What brutal force, malignant element,
Dared to forge your piteous fate?
Was it worth the effort, the time?
You limply lean on a leafless tree
Nursing the jiggers that shrivel your bottom
Like baby newly born to an old woman.
What crime, what treason did you commit
That you are thus condemned to human indifference?
And when you trudge on the horny pads,
Gullied like the soles of modern shoes,
Pads that even jiggers cannot conquer;
Does He admire your sense of endurance
Or turn his head away from your imprudent presence?
You sit alone on hairless goatskins,
Your ribs and bones reflecting the light
That beautiful cars reflect on you,
Squashing like between your nails.
And cleaning your nails with dry saliva.
And when He looks at the grimy coating
Caking off your emaciated skin,
At the rust that uproots all your teeth
Like a pick on a stony piece of land,
Does He pat his paunch at the wonderful sight?
Pauper, pauper, crouching in beautiful verandas
Of beautiful cities and beautiful people,
Tourists and I will take your snapshots,
And your M.P. with a shining head and triple chin
Will mourn your fate in a supplementary questions at question time.
(Adapted from poems from East Africa, by Cook and Rubadiri EDS)