Down, But Not Defeated Review

Reviewer: Emmanuel Chitsanzo Mtema

Poem by: William Mpina

Poem title: Down, But Not Defeated

What is the meaning of all this commotion in the world today? How do we survive this trauma? How do we pull up our strength and build hope in this crisis? These are some of the questions William Mpina explores in his poem ‘Down, But Not Defeated’, featured in Walking the Battlefield Anthology: An Anthology of Malawian Poetry on the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Mpina’s poem is an encouragement in this time that Corona Virus has torn the globe in pieces. He posits that despite what the eyes are seeing now, the end of this pain and suffering will surely come. The first part beautifully parades the effects of the lockdown Corona Virus has brought to the world:

The closure of roads
The shrinking of markets
The death of unity

The language that Mpina uses shows more than what is written down in the poem itself. For example, he depicts the irrationality, the conspiracy theories and the emotional torture that the virus has brought. Surely, one would think the world is going to an end. However, he concludes, that this thought is absurd.

Evidently, we see Mpina coming up with hope-filled lines in the second part of the poem. Although he appreciates the uncertainty of life and doesn’t seem to promise it will end, he alludes that just like seasons come and go; there is also hope that the pandemic will be rendered toothless, in the blink of time.

This poem is a masterpiece. It demands to be read again and again. This is to suffice that the whole collection in ‘Walking the Battlefield Anthology’ is a well-crafted work!