Friday, December 6, 2013

A Tree Planted by the Water

A Chant for Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)
"We saw in him what we seek in ourselves." – Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa

It was decided:
In order to protect themselves
they took him
                             walled him in
                                                        even
from the shouts of the prisoners playing
in the field
                       from the smell of his daughters’
hair    from the squinting eyes of the boys learning
at his books
                         They took him and found
themselves bound by his gaze
                                                         and he
did not move   planted by the water
                                                                when
you
can bring the sky inside you
the world will circle you

When they saw that even sitting on the floor
                                                                          he
was the tallest tree on the island
                                                                 They became afraid
of his shadow   the reach of his breath
                                                                   cracked the stones
when he walked through the walls
the children filled the air like
                                                   dawn-shocked summer birds

one day of ice and snow has stopped this city
so that
                We could hear the drum

The old man
has now released us
the laugh that his heart held
in fear  makes the circle

dance


-- Luke    5 December 2013