Sunday, January 12, 2014

Poetry from Swaziland part 6 (final poem)

Gugu Mdluli
November 18, 2011 at 1:53pm
Shelling ears of mealies 
Long dried, far from their vast green

Ping-pinging kernel after kernel
Into a red-petaled enamel basin.

Absent fingers churn out
Thought-images of hot weeks in December
spent among trees and grasshoppers.
Sing-song sashays through sibilant grass.

Ticking and tocking memories
Flicking them one after the other
Into one waiting bowl.

Time held in cobs and rows -
A stuttering trance
Of dusty barefoot days
at my grandmother's.

Guava trees wild, yellow-green
Climbed, raided.
The glorious return home with the biggest, juiciest,
yellowest of the fruit.

An isolated patch of cropped, cool grass
from which we watched night fall -
the leisurely sinking of the sun, beyond those dry hills.
Then star-studded blackness.

The long, wistful howling of mongrel dogs
with forgotten names and old eyes

Slow SiSwati stories. A candle
burns until dawn.
A mass of skimny limbs tangled - the owners picked off by sleep
one by one.

Tick, ping, tock, ping
Shelling mealies.

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