Friday, March 6, 2015

For the Unmarked Tomb--By Ndongolera C. Mwangupili--Malawi

For the Unmarked Tomb

(He was born kicking
and died fighting:
he lived for freedom
and whatever he did
he did for freedom’s sake.)

If greatness is height
    or size;
if prowess is weighed
    by the applause;
if manliness is eminence
    and ascendancy;
you are an empty bottle.

But if heroism is heroism,
    -no shape, no colour,
           no prize-
you are the greatest hero
        ever lived.

Your soul is,
forever and ever,
a beating tom-tom.

Ndongolera C. Mwangupili works as a Senior Inspector of Schools in Malawi. He has vast experience as a teacher of English and Bible Knowledge. Many of his short stories, poems and essays have been published in the Malawi News and Weekend Nation. His stories are anthologized in Modern Stories from Malawi and The Bachelor of Chikanda and Other Stories. His poem “The Genesis” was anthologized in The Time Traveller of Maravi: New Poetry from Malawi. His other poem “Letters to a Comrade” is published online in India on He believes that there is a thin line between fiction and reality. All that people write is a re-creation of what is already known to the writer and exists not only in the mind of the writer but also outside the writer, therefore, fiction is actually facts written as if they are not facts. He is married to Angella, and they have two daughters Mary Magdalena and Princess Cleopatra.


  1. Wow, your poem is strong and gives a strong definition to the word bravery which has no lines, no flighty reasons for bravery except the obvious and real reason. Exceptional poem, my friend! Sheri

  2. Ndongolera, you write beyond the poetic flow and infuse such meaningful thoughts to your poetry. I enjoyed your poem. Thank you for sharing and continued blessings!

    -MJ (

  3. Ndogolera, I absolutely loved your poem and yes living and dying for freedom is most especially a heroic endeavor. It is not what is on the outside that counts as you say but what is in the heart. Thank you for sharing your wonderful talent.