Grand Tour

Go within yourself

And examine your heart

The sages said

So I took a grand tour

To my heart’s tenements

And there it stood

Old, grey and dark

Like an abandoned warehouse

Or like Noah’s empty ark  

And everything of metal rust

Wood chipped, termites and rot

Wild vines and ivy swallowing walls

Grey lizards coming out of cracks

Waiting for sun

I went in and I cried out

But not a single soul was there

In all that vast emptiness

Not even echo answered my cry

Zindzile IV

Its lunch time break

and afternoon prayers

the scent of spicy food

hit my nose from the balcony

The Imam’s voice

pierces through the foggy air

from a minaret close by

my colleagues grab their prayer mats

and head out to the prayer call

I pull out my writing pad

this blank page shall be my prayer mat

I anoint my quill in ink

and these words I write to you Zindzile

This letter is my prayer.

Wine of Conversation

We found a clearing

Out in a barren field behind the village

away from society

on the edge of a dry fish pond

here I sat with you – my soul friend

drunk on the wine of conversation

suddenly the green grass

seemed to turn to a field of gold

the solitary tree in the middle seemed to smile

and if we drunk on this wine long enough

the dry fish pond would have been awash

with waters deep and blue

and rainbow fishes swimming at our feet

On Her Wedding Day With Death

We found her as if standing still

Under a lonesome tree in open field

A little gap between her feet and the ground sill

And her head with an unnatural yield

.

We stood quiet by the threshold

When they brought her down at last

On every tongue was a silent hold

And thoughts with judgment a blast

.

They dressed her in a bridal gown

On her wedding day with death

They dug a grave out of town

And on it there was no wreath

.

The silent procession trailed

Its way through the forest dark

No hymns were sung– no praises rained

But the cathedral of trees formed a chapel arch

.

Half-drunk undertakers lowered her down

Bloodshot eyes –crooning tunes obscene

Dropped open the lid and messed her gown

Around her neck a red ring of bruise was seen

Delicate Hope

I bought gourd seeds

off a market in my land of exile  

a highland fertile and cold

and when I got home

I planted them on my mother’s little garden

carefully watching their growth – two vines.

When I wasn’t home I sent word

to have them watered

and all I ever knew of hope

all it ever meant to me

Was on those large healthy leaves

On which was written promises of plenty

.

Then the petals opened in a foreign land

and my mother’s rocky kitchen garden

on top of a hill

was way too close to the sun

thus the shy gourd flowers

scorched dead and fruitless.

Yet the large green leaves

Remained just as healthy

With promises of plenty