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The Way We Fed
There in the village
roof tops smoke nimbly
like grannies puffing weakly
through resigning nostrils,
The hearts seem broken-hearted, barren:
Yet, there morsels abound.

Black, sooty earthenware pots growl
like witches’ cauldrons
to sustain bush-bound children.
The stirring stick dances
its dual bump-jive
knocking the pot’s ribs,
to prick courage to action.
The cracked, black-parched plates assemble
like prudent soldiers at ‘ATTENTION!’
to receive their instant shares
from long-standing promises.

The side pot smiles
like a baby on mother’s back:
Cocks and bulls growl within
to greet moonshine heroes
perched on hilly countryside,
to feed on curfewed suppers
but fit to strangle the morning dawn.

On pot and side pot’s permission
old granny crawls down the valley,
breasts licking the withering chest
containing fertile hope
and age-old scars
cured by Chaminuka’s herbs.

Down she crawls, staggering, limping
muttering like a war-casualty.
Some mountaineering there!
Ancient feet, selecting paths
with prophetic skill, tread on.

A rude blunt thorn
breaks the tawny, thorny side
comforting itself in the old, drying blood!
Oh! she winces. An old rugged face
suppressed, lest some grim-faced cowboy hears!
She off-loads: she must care,
the load unshirkable, flesh begets flesh,
hungry wilds must feed.
She winces yet again!
A jerky, heart-pricking pull!
The thorn breaks within, half rotten,
and no blood; but tonnes of pain, thunderous!
She surveys the ground
and recalls: she is past child bearing!
But she must leave!
Rather late, the sun.
Granny forgets the blunt, rapturous pain
and takes to her load.
Ah, there! sinewy arms, clawed fingers,
straps of muscle; and courage.
Yet an eagle’s grip there is.
She sighs, ancient lips mutter
some prayer to Nehanda
and forward she trudges,
trudging to hope itself – but the pain!
Maybe she is late,
but she suffers not with time,
time ticks her way
and she crawls
like a slave,
godly forward, heroic as the wind:
But unheralded by stately choirs,
Forgotten by national anthem makers!