Saturday, July 28, 2007


Until I visited the village of the dead
And saw
A stick thin woman pee in a pot for something to drink
A little boy tiredly eat grass as a vulture circled by
A young girl’s raped insides hanging out
A man, bereft of hope, with tears rolling down his cheeks
I didn’t understand

I never knew
Until I heard a woman’s animal cry
As scorched hands lifted her charred children’s bodies
from a shanty fire
Until I talked to a young girl who sold herself
For the price of a loaf of bread
I didn’t know

How could I know
When I hadn’t yet seen a child faint at his desk
From hunger
Or Women walking home from work in the middle
Of a dark night
Shivering from the bite of her angry chill
Until I saw these things
All I did was live for me

Until I walked in their shoes and cried their tears
Until I held the emaciated hand of fear
I didn’t understand the call of the revolution
PoP © 27 July 07

Market Day

She drags her feet
On the red dusty footpath
Along the busy highway
Cars, like life swish by
In total oblivion of her
Many times she’s too tired
To move on, other times
She’s a fire unchecked

She stoops as if in pain
Never having had the luxury
Of shedding her heavy load
Her gait belies her strong back
That carries home the world
Her gentle eyes have licked
The fires of hell
Been pushed time and again to the brink
Yet made the journey back

She sits at the market place
Behind five small piles of potatoes
Unties the baby straddled on her back
Freeing one dry breast to suckle
And another long day begins

PoP© 18 July 07

Quicksand Of Shame

It all started innocently
A meticulously laid out strategy
Callousness spread evenly on each side
Of a shiny mahogany conference table

They call it Aid
They give, we take
We take because they owe us, we say
They enslaved and killed our people, we say
They colonized us, lapped up the cream
And left us with the dregs, we say
We take to feed the children
We justify the hand held out

It’s rather convenient to be blind
to what we give
When we take what we take
So that now we’re doubly enslaved
Dazedly wondering how we got into this prison
Once colonized by force
We’re colonized yet again by poverty
Behind the scenes they call the shots
As we cut ourselves over and again
With a double-edged sword sharpened
By our open palm

When we can’t live on the fruit of our land,
Our sweat, our taxes
When we don’t trust the toil of our hands
And they, of ‘budget support’, ‘Africa Aid’, ‘Relief’
Have a fistful of money held out
Then we can’t possibly make the decision
To keep our people employed
To run our railways, our corporations,
Our telephone system
When they scream privatize, privatize!

When the ‘donors’ withhold and threaten to withdraw
We shake in our too small shoes
Wondering what we’ll eat
Our hearts in panic palpitate, heaping fear upon fear
For we know that soon we will be squatters in our country
And our children will carry on the legacy
Of that outstretched hand
Sink desperately in the quicksand of shame

PoP © 19 July 07

Crimson Horizon

Hold me
Hold me tonight
For my eyes will not see another day

Hold me gently
As I watch the birds carry my soul
Tightly clutched between their wings
Listen with me as they sing a dirge

Hold me tight
As birds in formation fly past
Saluting a life at its end
Honouring a new beginning

Hold me close
As the sun turns from crimson to pink
Meeting the moon halfway on the horizon
Embracing my soul as she surrenders her grip

PoP © 23 Feb 07

Re-written on 18 July 07

Friday, July 13, 2007

My Voice In The Revolution

Those who can’t speak
Can walk with the actors
And if they splutter and stutter
Go the way of the mimes

Those who can’t act
Can put words on paper
Bring out the things that matter
Yes, they can write

Those with voices
Can sing out loud and clear
So even the deaf will hear
Use their voices to make things right

We all have a way
Poem or prose
Sign or song
We all have a platform

To make ourselves heard

PoP © 11 July 07

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Where Do We Go From Here?

Breaking down the walls of age
I stand before you.
Your tears are reflected in my raging anger
as my heart screams,
Not again! Not again!

I’m as lost as you are,
unable to catch up with
these questions running
wildly through my mind.
Where will we go?
Who will we trust?
Where will we hide?

Who will hold our values high?
To whom will we turn?
Who will be the rock of our homes?
When did the foundation crack?

Your body’s battered
In private places
Rough, hungry hands dirtying,
touching you in places.
Shamelessly groping,
painfully thrusting.
Searing like a knife,
your body, your trust,
Leaving indelible stain.

Eight years of life
Poverty driven and enslaved
by a people too busy to care.
Eight years of life,
so full of pain,
driven to its knees
Shattered before it’s really began

PoP © 9 July 07

Cat And Mouse

He works the night shift,
so during the day he sleeps
until the early afternoon
when the children come home from school.

There’s darkness in his roving eyes,
quietly shifting from the back of the woman
bent over the communal tap,
to the little girl with the school bag on her back.

‘Sarah, he calls,
Please get me some milk down at Manu’s kiosk,
and buy yourself a sweet while you’re at it.’

He opens the door to his one roomed house
as the little girl returns
The bread is disfigured in her small hands
as he slams home the lock behind her.
His hands run hungrily down the length of her torso.
The cat and mouse game begins
It’s a daily ordeal, between the two.

PoP © July 09 2007