Tendebantque manus ripae amore
Not for home but the far bank,
Away from home, oh far shore!
Not the familiar for it was blank,
Bleached to bone in famine.
Not of health, of hunger rank.
Not to God, no name divine,
But to neighbour cried salvation;
From home, not sulphur and brine.
Not from Justice’s condemnation;
The putrid shadow of the law,
Her pinions hollowed with corruption.
And what of those who did not go?
Some their pleasures found fulfillment,
Vultures! their lot is to devour
Other bodies, broke and spent,
Too feeble to run to new pastures,
Though the bread no sacrament.
Some beguiled by wayward pastors,
Who preached of sin to the absolved,
Some’s old faith in ancient masters,
Too ovine to see weak bonds dissolved.
Yet some with love for home and country
A thirst to see its puzzle solved.
If never solved, if never free,
To bow untamed on matriarchal ground,
Buried ‘neath the mphafa tree.


Philani Amadeus Nyoni; a Zimbabwean-born wordsmith. He has written award-winning poetry for the page, the stage and the screen. He has also written articles and short stories for various publications, local and international.


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