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Song of the Makiwa Tree
(Looking west from Rhodes' grave in the Matopos Hills)

When I die I want you to make of me
ashes, the colour of infinity;
the colour of horizons where the sky
beyond the focus of the eagle's eye
meets earth - not any earth - the western hills:
five wasted cheekbones where makaza spills,
of drops trickling slow.

is the time for fires, for limbs to splinter,
trunks to topple down koppies, bark to drop
like peeled skin. Time for Efifi's crop
to tighten, but not crack. Not yet crack.
Ntabemnyama carries on his back
a herd of Matabele cattle ghosts.
Potgieter and his men are at their posts;
the last Boer raid for many years.
Bampata pats away Ingwenya's tears;
Inungu, desecrated by a cross
completes the five that stand and gather moss.

Call me Commiphora, the Paperbark;
my trunk is green but my ashes are dark
as blurred horizons where the earth
beyond the shudder of a jackal's mirth
meets sky - not any sky - the western deep
where balding koppies and their valleys sleep.
Smell me smouldering in this chilly night,
watch the gradual dying of my light.
Scatter my ashes where makaza spills -
among the slopes of the five Matopo hills.

Editor's Note: bampata: to pat Commiphora Marlothii or Paperbark tree or makiwa: white man, as the skin of the tree peels away efifi: blue jay ingwenya: crocodile inungu: porcupine makaza: light drizzle ntabemnyama: black hill