An Ode To Custin Shen

I wanted to speak of love,

And so I summoned my lovely brother Jim.

‘Brother Jim sit down and listen,

I want to sing to you my all about Shen Custin,

Your nephew who is also mine,

And who together with you I harboured and harbour in the softest part of my soul.’


It’s a song that was sang on the tri-day

That still lingers in my mind as I think of my struggles with Custin.

Is it not my dawning that I saw in Custin?

The carpet had been hanging loose over my path.

It was laid down for me in November.

Custin was here.

He came earlier than expected.

His size didn’t matter; I respected his ways of winning the battles of life, though he was smaller than usual.

I believed…then you believed

And we empowered our faith due to him.

His being though despised by infantiles became contagious and I strongly attached.

The many that came to believe later, I didn’t trust.

Were they machinating, or was it true love?

Brother. This people who came late.

Did they really love Custin?

This inquisition can bore endless speculation

And so I was on my knees

I prayed for Custin innumerable short morisons

That each day he be struck by good health and capability

That each passing moment he be an inspiration to me.

Sure my prayers were answered

For Custin brilliant winning ways was unmatched in recent times.

He fought numerous shortcomings and emerged victorious;

From forsake, cold and seclusion to Erythroblastosis Foetalis,

Custin weathered the tempest.

From the Kisii highland chill to Lodwar’s harshly high temperature

Custin survived.

Brother Jim, are those not the ways of a victor?

In my papers I read;

‘I prayed, he answered

Custin not to be sick, he’s been well so.’

The truth acknowledges and bows with deep recognition that I unwaveringly stood by Custin,

I was ready to hunt and kill anywhere for Custin

I was ready to walk the ways of the oppressed to die with Custin

Strongly attached was I that I overlooked my own existence.

What is life?

If not struggling not to die.

Custin was here and then no more.

Cut down by unbelief and quickly erased before relevance.

What was the reason for passing through?

Like a comet, he flew past and across our world.

Custin a victor in many battles,

Even that of life; for he committed no sin.

Back and forth,

In this world and the one to come.

Death is not a victor; death shall die.

From the other world of the lord,

(If allowed to us to reflect the past)

Meningitis; the only victor over Custin in that perished world.

Written on 23rd November, 2006. (a year later)

Custin was born on 20th November, 2005 a day before the referendum in Kenya. He passed on on 10th September 2006