In Africa

love is the dark beating drum

heart of the forest

moon smoothed by a million palms

taut as tensed bellies

waiting for night

and the sword thrusts

Hate is the sharp shearing knife

slitting the white woman's womb

skewering her unborn child

on a meat spit

held by a laughing man


Time is the naked Dinka

one legged on the river bank

spear in hand drowsily watching

slow steamers eddy by

Youth is the engineer,

the teacher, the planner,

rudely awakened from the ancient

drum born dream.

Power is black

in the arms of new politicians

chess playing in jetplanes

noiselessly to London

cool over the heat bent

yellowing land.


In Africa

the fossils are not dead but waiting

languages flow like blood

but no codes carry their cryptic information,

uncongealed in alphabet

the words fly free

seeking their own and powerful sense.