Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

Silence is the Stethoscope's Song by Iwuagwu Ikechukwu

(For Aloma Lugard Chukwudum Iwuagwu)

Now in Luga's absence, there is just us. The walking wounded and traumatized. The devastated and scandalized. The 'marooned' and weary. GOD Almighty our only Hope!

—Prof Magnus Amara Iwuagwu

I never wanted my pen to do a dance of sadness or grief

No, not yet, not at a five year interval

The dawn of 6th February bequeathed us all with a tiding clothed in shock and doubt

Somebody wake me up!

I want to wake,

to the times we sat talked and laughed

to the times I drank from your well of wisdom

to the times your words of encouragement flowed freely like the weeping skies

to the times you cared and cared and cared

to moments your conviviality sparked a dance of the forest

But I am awake clinging to these moments, now as memories, wonderful memories

A soldier of Saint Christopher has taken a final bow

The sword wails in its scabbard

The stillness in the theater is loud

The stethoscope mourns in silent coiling grief, the forceps is cold from loneliness

The wind howls sadly in sorrowful circles

Stars grieve in sparkless glow

The golden eagle has lost its wings and has nosedived into the horizon

The baton has been bequeathed to posterity

A brave warrior, who ambled this precarious path orchestrated by fate

A clash of bravery with the reaper, standing boldly against roaring tempests

Uncle Lugard!

You were a fierce gladiator in the medical Colosseum like Maximus of Rome

Uncle Edward is an archetype—

You bought more time for souls slithering to their epilogues

and warded off death a million times from claiming others as its cold prize

You ordered gallantly the gentle dissecting strides of the forceps,

and lured out the healing essence of drugs

Death be not proud, you never conquered him

He lives in the evergreen pages of our minds: a Legend

Chukwu n'enye, Chukwu n'anara*

We love you, we still love you, but Chukwu loves you more

that he had you retired to the golden suburbs in the womb of the fluffy firmaments,

Where sorrow and pain are permanently ironical.

*God gives, God takes


Iwuagwu Ikechukwu is an African poet, essayist, budding playwright, screenwriter, and graduate with a degree in English and Literature. His poems won the Poetry Nook weekly contest & got an honourable mention respectively, available in the fifth paperback edition of the Poetry Nook anthology on amazon. His short story "Five Shades of Victory" was awarded an honourable mention in the IHRAF Creators of Justice award in New York (2020 edition). His works have been published in The Shallow Tales Review, Black Boy Review, Talk Afro Magazine & Ka'edi Africa (Nigeria), About Place Journal, Flora Fiction, Fumble Magazine, Bombfire Lit, Cholla Needles, Disquiet Arts (USA), Dissonance Magazine (UK) and Orange Blush Zine (Malaysia). He is a lover of the Igbo culture and can be found in his spare time researching, writing, studying, reading African literature, or engaging in creative and thought-provoking arguments.

Author's note

This poem is somewhat inspired by the myth of Thanatos. In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Thanatos, son of Nyx (the goddess of night) appeared to humans to carry them off to the underworld when the time allotted to them by fate had expired. Thanatos was once tricked by Sisyphus, the king of Corinth, who wanted a second chance at life. This makes the fact more glaring that someday we all shall journey to the great beyond when fate deems fit—of course, orchestrated by our maker.