Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010

And Lobengula slept

by Simon-Paul Ridgeway

Standing on that craggy granite rock, upon that vast foreboding plain,
The man looked down from his hilltop vantage, to survey with disdain,
Upon that sleeping, slothful Impi, with whom the Spirits raged,
Took his chances with one fell swoop, his mission was engaged.
And with the haunting burnished moon, beyond cloak and dagger cloud,
He slipped with ease amid the crevice, to which access allowed,
To steal and seek within murky cave, the wise man which he sought,
The Spirits beckoned with haughty cries, the damage they had wrought.
Through the embers of a smoldering fire, the cavern walls danced alive,
For way beyond the courage of some, their arrogance will survive,
So keeping with his knowledge borne, to the soulless Sangoma he crept,
And to his throat a blade he plunged, while Impi and Lobengula slept.
With blood-strangled cries of Spirits evoked, the shrill echo brought to life,
A flood of tears upon that land, their ancestors impaled with a knife,
The distant Impi roused beyond that cave, but ghosts had sealed their fate,
To jump to defend their lost cause would end, with the ashen body prostrate.
And in that distant time of yore, their destiny would hang on the thread,
Of a vanquished tribe, to which man inscribes, a litany of untold dead,
But the gauge of a nation, steeped in that blood, would rise again to be heard,
By the spilling of more, through the telling of truths, ‘Gukurahundi‘  in a word.

Added: 23.04.2010