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COURTESY OF ATIKA SCHOOL
THE SMILING ORPHAN - KCSE ENGLISH POETRY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Read the following poem and respond to the questions appropriately.
And when she passed away,
Everybody came to mourn her.
Hospitalized for five months
The ward was her world
Fellow patients her compatriots
The meager hospital supply-her-diet
When she was dying
Her son was on official duty
The state demanded his services
Her only daughter, uneducated,
Sat by her
Crying, praying waiting for an answer
From God far above
Wishing, she spoke the language
Figures in white-coats do understand
They matched, the figures did
Stiff, numb and deaf, to the cries and wishes
Of her dying mother
As she was dying
Friends and kinsmen TALKED of her
How good, how helpful: a very practical woman
None reached her: they were too busy, there waws no money,
Who would look after their homes?
Was it so crucial their presence?
But when she passed away, they came,
Kinsmen came, friends hired cars to come,
Neighbours gathered to mourn her,
They ought to be there, to be there for the funeral
So they swore
The mourners shrieked out cries
As they arrived in the busy compound of the dead.
Memories of loved ones no more
Stimulated tears of many.
They cried dutiful tears for the deceased
Now stretching their hands all over to help
The daughter looked at them
With dry eyes, quiet, blank
The mourners pinched each other
Shocked by the stone – heartedness
Of the be-orphaned.
She sat: watching the tears soak their garments
Or in the soil around them; wasted
That night, she went to her love,
In the freshly made emergency grass hut,
And let loose all ties of the Convectional Dress she wore
Submitting to the Great Power, she whispered:
You and I must know Now………….
Tomorrow you might never understand
Unable to lick my tears ……………..
And there was light
In the darkness of the hut
The mourners cried
Louder thant he Orphan
By Grace Birabwa Isharaza
a) Who is the persona in the poem? (2 marks)