Restored #forgiveness #poetry #uganda

They curse the dry unyielding ground

stubble from impotent crops remain

toppled huts call out in anger

“we will never be whole again

they have maligned our children

destroyed our spirit”

only bitter weeds grow strong


lovingly they pour water on hardened ground

fingers soiled with ancestral dirt

music filters through new huts

golden maize dances to life’s song

children’s laughter reaches blue expanse

“we are known as the place of the light”

Pasqual’s face radiates hope


The LRA displaced the Acholi tribes in Northern Uganda. Not one family was untouched. “I was abducted as a child.” “My wife was raped at 9.” “We ran over the bodies of dead family members.” “Our village was destroyed.”

For the Acholi there are two choices – bitterness or forgiveness.

In no way is the forgiveness easy but only through it can life begin fresh and new.

Only in love can a new song be written in the heart of these strong people.


“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:31 & 32
Poets United has an awesome community of poets/writers. Read the words of these fantastic folks here.



17 thoughts on “Restored #forgiveness #poetry #uganda

  1. A great poem, that demonstrates so well, the attitude required via forgiveness, in order to move on from the harshest of human experiences. What a tribute to those tribes people who have made survival their signal of forgiveness. I hope they find new growth in all ways…


  2. Fantastic strong people. they are. I wish them well and you also . Working with them must be very rewarding.I remember your poems from a very long time ago.I don’t think you were in Africa then.


  3. I hear this story and am ashamed that I bear a grudge for the guy who usurped my usual parking space. I have soooo faaaar to go. Thank you for this wonderful reminder.


  4. Bravo. I read your explanation as a third part to your poem. Surely the experience wore off the edges of pure emotion, though hope must be as abundant and nurtured as the new water and homes, as the fields. Tenderly.


  5. Leslie, how lovely to read you. You have illustrated the life-giving properties of forgiveness so well in your second stanza. The contrast between the despair of the first, and the affirmative action in the second is wonderful. I am so happy you are still involved in assistance work in Uganda.


  6. “In no way is the forgiveness easy” so true, but i wish for your people the healing grace that comes from it
    A poignant write



  7. From despair to happiness. forgiveness is key – I followed such a woman in Africa – she said “she walked on bones” to get to the UN. Her 3 children are products of rape – she raised them all and loves them dearly. She is a refugee in America now after 20 years (!!) in the UN refugee camp. Anyway, this poem of yours certainly resonated.


  8. You have left me speechless with your poem, Leslie! So much power runs through every word, every line break … so much emotion in “on unyielding ground they lovingly pour water
    fingers soiled with ancestral ground,” you have captured what it means and what it takes to endure and move on! ❤️❤️


  9. Sadly when colonists leave there is a power struggle between the local tribes left to govern their own country. That this was not anticipated is sadly another result of the colonist era, Let’s hope that Uganda can achieve a lasting and sucessful independence.


  10. Can’t imagine the largeness of hearts that forgive that kind of cruelty and move on towards the light and another day. Survival is hard coded into our DNA, forgiving is a special ability that the better among us are blessed with.


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