Monday, 24 June 2013

Poem For Mandela (A Short Walk, A Long Way)

About A Road (A Short Walk, A Long Way)
For Mandela

In a Cape Town township
(Where me and Josie volunteer)

I hear a choir singing
behind the shiny tin of red church walls

and wonder how voices
can sound like they're smiling.

I ask Josie, but she does not know
why it matters.

Can she not feel the harmony
float their weight up

 above the row of shacks
     painted yellow and blue -

flaring in the after-school heat?
I ask Josie to slow her walk -

I want to bask in this song,
      to feel its glow.   

     Josie does not slow down.
Her feet do not know

that I have come to
  this difficult, bright blooded

country to heal,
and this is what I needed to hear -

     people bringing their faith
together and singing

     about a road
troubled with dirt.

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