Tuesday, December 29, 2020



Rise and Fall of My Beloved

by Utanu Maa


GENRE: Poetry



Rise and Fall of My Beloved is a collection of poetry and prose about resilience—about the experience of stigma and rejection, disease and suffering, love and care, loss and grief—and also a testimony of gratitude, forgiveness and togetherness. Each of its three parts is a journey through life's struggles, pain and loss, all of which require an inner force to overcome, build, rebuild, succeed and heal: resilience. It expresses an undercurrent to an imposed destiny or stigma.

Based on the life experience of my late brother, Rise and Fall of My Beloved is a tribute to mankind's resilience to overcome adversities. The book takes readers from his vulnerable childhood as a neglected orphan set to die, through a childhood in which he was bullied, to his rise as an accomplished engineer, and sadly to his fall as a dying patient of HIV/AIDS. Each poem depicts the essence of unconditional love and care, the dignity of dying of AIDS, forgiveness, and family bond. This book is a manifesto of my brother's exceptional resilience, the best memory of him that will live forever. It is an invitation, an inspiration, a reflection that, when mankind encounters struggles, disease, pain, death, loss, grief, we have to grieve and heal, and rebuild.



The Labels

He was called names, all kinds, all meaning idiot or retarded.

Labelled and mistreated, traumatized and still mourning his


He remained without speech for a long time.

Repeatedly, they called him “kiteki,” meaning, in Kikongo


An object without life or soul, intelligence or reasoning, and


He heard them predicting the inevitable failures in his future life.

They firmly believed he couldn’t learn because he was just a

kiteki” —

A speechless object with no sounds, no intelligence or interest

in anything.

They labelled him incapable, a cognitive retarded

Silent, he bore the changes and chaos around him

With a hidden resilience to survive and grow.

The Omnipotency of the universe watched over the orphan

While Zola observed every movement of each mouth speaking.

Whether they called him names, teased, bullied, or labelled him,

He watched lips and captured distorted motions that made


He missed the love of a mother: her warmth and care,

Her smile and laugh, her scent and touch, the sounds of her


The soothing voice of a dear mother sweetly calling his name

And calming his fears in her protective and reassuring arms.

He or I would never know her in our childhood or adulthood,

Perhaps only in a picture if someone one day showed it to us.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I am Utanu MAA. I live in Toronto and work as a public servant within the Ontario Court of Justice. Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa, where I studied French Literature and Law before migrating to Canada in 1991, and thereafter studied Fashion Marketing, Paralegal and Law (1year) programs. In 2004, I was a recipient of a prize for the Poetry contest organized by Canada Heritage during the celebration of the Francophonie. "Couleur d'une langue" (The Color of a language), my unpublished poem about the diversity and different accents that give rhythm and power to a language to become an umbrella of one identity. "Rise and Fall of My Beloved" is also my own journey into unconditional love and care, and the resilience to deal with pain, loss, grief, to grieve, heal and continue with life after my brother's death.

Connect with Utanu Maa:




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  1. Replies
    1. Hello and thank you for having me. I also would like to express my gratitude to every reader for their interest and comments about my book. I will stay connected for the all day to respond to your comments or questions. I hope that you are all well and safe. I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year 2021 to you and your family. Let us stay resilient and rise strong despite this pandemic. Take care, Humanity!

  2. Utanu Maa,

    Hello and thank you for having me.

  3. Replies
    1. Hi Victoria. Thank for stopping by and your kind comment. I hope you are well and safe. I will be connected for the all day to reply to comments or question, should have one. Stay resilient and safe. I wish you and your loved ones a Happy and Healthy New Year 2021.

  4. Do you write every day?
    Thanks for the contest.

    1. Hi Slehan, thank you for stopping by and being part of the giveaway contest. I am glad that you did that. Great question! I wish I have inspiration all the times and write every day. Unfortunately, the human being's nature is that some day the inerself shuts down and does not speak, lead or guide, inspire or whisper and the page stays blank. But when it is vivid and rushing words and sentences in my head, then I spend time early in the morning and then in the evening to write the flow of words that my inerself is telling me. My poetry writing also depends on my mood and events in life leading me to reflect. The process of just writing the text of this book was easy and short because it is about a true and personal experience to talk about. I already had my chest filled with griefs and I desperately needed to grieve and heal, and be grategul and resilient to overcome and move on with life and all the blessings that I still have despite the loss. Resilience, mostly at this time of the pandemic.
      Thank you for asking and I wish you a Happy New Year 2021. Stay safe and resilient.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hello, I would to express my gratitude for the opportunity for me to be on this book tour. It has been a great experience. Thank you to all of you who reached out with your comments or questions. Thank you for the bottom of my heart. Happy New Year 2021 to all of you. Stay safe and resilient. We are together.


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