Soweto

Out of this roar of innumerable demons

hot cinema tarzan sweat
rolling moth ball eyes yellow teeth
cries of claws slashes clanks

a faint high pallor

dust

oceans rolling over the dry sand of the savanna

your houses homes warm still with the buffalo milk
bladder of elephant . tusk of his stripped tree
sing soft clinks

but the barracks

the dark dark barks of the shark
boys
the cool juice of soweto . . .


out of this dust they are coming
our eyes listen out of rhinoceros thunder
darkness of lion

the whale roar stomping in heaven
that black bellied night of hell and helleluia
when all the lights of anger flicker flicker flicker flicker

and we know somewhere there there is real fire
basuto mokhethi namibia azania shaka the zulu kenyatta the shatt
erer the maasai wandering into the everlasting shadow of jah

daughters lost daughters

bellowing against bullhorn and kleghorn
bellowing against bargwart and the searchlights of dogs
bellowing against crick and the kick in the stomach

the acrid wretch against the teeth
bellowing against malan malan malam malan
and boer and boerwreck and boertrek and truckloads of metal

helmet and fusil and the hand grenade
and acid rhodes and the diamonds of oppenheimer
the opulence of voortresshers the grass streiders . . .


suddenly like that fire the crows in johannesburg
you were there
torn. in tears. tatters

but the eyes glittered and the fist
clenching around that scream of your mother bled
into a black head of hammers

and the night fell howl
on soweto

the night fell howl
on soweto

and we who had failed to listen all. those. foot. steps
who had given you up like a torn paper package

your heroes burning in your houses
rising from your dust bowls
flaring from the sky

listen now as the news items lengthen
gathering like hawks looking upward like the
leopard plunging into the turmoil like the

constrictor

and that crouch/shot
shout out against that beast and pistol
the police who shot patrice who castrated kimathi

and clattering clattering clattering clattering
the veldts gun metals wings
rise from their last supper their hunger of bones

bomba

and the daniels sing

ukufa akuqheleki kodwa ke
kuthiwa akuhlanga lungehlanga
lalani ngenxeba nikhuzeka

and we are rowing out to sea where the woman
lived with her pipe and her smoke
shack

and her tea in the tea
pot
tankard of hopes

herbs

lamagora afele
izwe lawo

and we are rowing out to sea
where there are farms

and our farmers laid waste the land
to make honey. we are the bells of the land . . .



dumminit

dumminit

lit by lantern and lamp

damp

dumminit

ash/can

kero

sene glow

can

dle &

glare

dumminit

hitting the head of the h/anvil

huh

drumminit

?

his school/book

huh

but to learn

blood

what is blood

hah

but to bless

dream


and that hill now under the ocean
and the pages splashed with his blood
and that bullet a hero a hero herero . . .



once the germans destroyed every sperm
in your village every man who could walk
every nim growing into the noom and nam of yr man/hood

they stripped skin and made catapults skulls were their pelmets
upon the wall
and the torn feet cracked and stacked and streggaed

rubbish heap . dog howl . cenotaph

and for days there was stench over the grasslands
and for months there was silence upon the trees
cow . goat . udder . manyatta

bantustan upon the land . . .

and then it was gone like all hero hero herero
like your canoe upon the land . . .


walking back down now from the shores of kikuyu water
washing back down now from Swahili laughter

zimbabwe kinshasa limpopo
always limpopo the limper the healer

it comes down from the ruins of the north
from the lakes of the luo

from the sunlights and sunrise of the east

as antient as sheba as wise as the pharaohs
as holy as the early morning mists of ityopia


an i

man

tek long

time to

reach hey

but a

bomb

an de lim

popo drop

down

an de

dread

come

an de

wreck

age soon

done

soon

soon

Soweto

we have waited so long for this signal

this howl of your silence

this heat of herero this hero

and i beheld the great beast strangled

howling in its chains

led by the fetlocks

and the opulence useless

and the long guns shattered and silent

and we rise

mushroom

cloud

mau mau

Kilimanjaro

silvers of eagles

tears

savannas

nzingas of rivers

umklaklabulus of mountains

and the unutterable metal of the

volcano




rising

rising

rising

burning




soon

soon

soon

soweto




bongo man a come

bongo man a come

bruggadung

bongo man a come

bongo man a come

bruggadung

bruggadung

bruggadung

bruggadung

by Kamau Brathwaite

Other poems of BRATHWAITE (6)

Comments (1)

.......most interesting...a captivating write ★