Utshani buluhlaza njengomati
ohlotshiwe ngezimbali zamazama
abomvu njengamalangabi eklobeni.
Ibentshi lasephaki, libusisiwe,
liqukethe ulova olalele
Esichela amanzi ayiqcwele
Esiqumbini samakholwa angamajuba
Izinja ezingaxhaniwe zinqatshelwe.”
Nangoke “umisisi” ehambisa ipikinisi yakhe
ebhavile yase iqholwa ngamakha.
Inuka ubuso buka saziso “Ungasondeli”
ngekhala elibanda njengenhlanzi eseqhweni
ishaya indesheni ngomlenze wangemumva
isishiye simpongoloza ngokuthu
KEEP OFF THE GRASS
The grass is the green mat
trimmed with gladioli
red like flames in the furnace.
The park bench, hallowed,
holds the loiterer listening
to the chant of the fountain
showering holy water in the congregation
“Keep off the grass,
Dogs not under leash forbidden.”
Then Madam walks her Pekinese,
bathed and powdered and perfumed.
He sniffs at the face of the “Keep Off” sign
with a nose as cold as frozen fish
and salutes it with a hind paw
leaving it weeping in anger and shame.
Editor's Note: Sounds of a Cowhide Drum was first published in English in 1971 by Lionel Abrahams. The 2012 re-issue of the book carries a simultaneous translation of the poems into Zulu.