Father and daughter dance
Dear Daddy, A Letter from Your Loving Daughter
This is a poem by Census Kabang Lo Liyong in honor of Father’s day. Census talks of her loving relationship with her father, Professor Taban Lo Liyong.
I think of you, I pray for you and I believe in you
Most of all, I miss being in your midst
You exist in all that I am,
When I was born, you named me based on the first census of Sudan,
I’m now tied to history because of that.
I remember from a young age,
You always had dreams for me.
You travelled and never forgot to write me a letter.
You told me I was made for greatness,
I am now driven by this philosophy.
Your love is different, strict with rules
But through the years we have molded it with tenderness.
Many a times, I was in harm’s way,
And you became protective like a male ostrich.
You spent sleepless nights when I was out late,
I was oblivious until I saw the toll on you.
How dare I kept you awake, when instead it was my turn
To watch over you.
I then regressed, returned into my cocoon
And remembered the dreams you had for me.
Dreams to venture into the world,
through the valleys, rivers, mountains and deserts.
One where I had the power to create my own story,
To write my own story,
To stretch the limits of my ability,
And to live a life worthy of my nature.
Still working on these, for they too, are important to me.
Times, I have been asked
Does your father allow you to do that?
My answer has always been,
My father has pushed me to break barriers,
Never has he uttered, “because you are a woman”,
And for a daughter, that is enough.
It propels me to explore the world and my mind,
To always try and try harder,
To never give up,
To block all critics,
Because my father says I can.
While discussing corruption in South Sudan,
You pronounced the ethical rule
“Always be righteous, even at night with eyes closed”
Whenever I am in a difficult situation, your words come to live.
How do I ignore it, what will you say, will I be happy with myself?
While conversing cultures and people,
You once said that I couldn’t get married to certain people,
I curiously asked why?
you said because my personality is very strong
This personality, a merger of your genes and mummy’s,
Both strong in their own manner.
At times I am caught trying to reconcile the two,
And not overpowering the other.
As I look at this beautiful union you have built with mummy,
I’m at peace, you have found ways to rise above the challenges,
To remain silent and speak when needed,
To laugh at each other.
I love that you are growing old together, I pray to build such a union in my own union.
When you gave my hand in marriage,
A part of me held on,
One part saying goodbye; the other saying go on.
What have we not conversed about?
Yet I can’t wait to sit with you, over a glass of chardonnay
And chat like we used to,
Before marriage and distance, flung me far
I feel I have only accessed the tip of your brilliance.
Dear daddy, in this moment
I think about how I can enrich your life and your health,
I want to see you.
I’m grown but you always hold a special place in my heart,
One that can never be replaced.
I miss your letters and how you always end with the words
With love, your dad.
I know it is written out of love,
each word melodiously crafted with care to express the right tone.
Please write some more, I long to read.
I feel privileged that you are my dad,
I pray for you to have many more years with mummy, with us
I can’t wait for you to meet our son, he loves to read just like you.
Daddy, thank you
I am because you are.
Your loving daughter,
June 6th, 2018.
My dad, Taban Lo Liyong