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At midday
A wind rose from the north.
Large gravid tropical clouds
Came bearing on the gomo
Like a Martian squadron.

Upon the granite giants,
They vent their fury:
Thunderbolt upon thunderbolt
Crushed onto the beleaguered hills;
Tall columns of rain, slanting
Like laser beams, smart bombs,
Aimed at some drought-demon
entombed in the giant rock,
Strafed the lizard-scorching dwallas
Raising atom bomb-like mist clouds
That hid the fleeing drought-demon
From mortal sight.

Then . . .
From beyond the village,
A murmur, a babbling, a roar
A cataract charging the village.

And the children,
As if drawn by some magic sound,
Half-clothed in shredded apparel,
Ran in mounting excitement
To the dry streambed; and . . .
They saw,
Tumbling down from the hills
In frenzied confusion,
The stream!

A strange brown slurry
Like cold lava flow,
Tearing at the banks
And swallowing the
Numerous anonymous faeces
In the dry streambed.

They watched
The earth cavity slowly fill
To a swirling pool,
Twigs and tin cans
Eddying a rain dance
In the frothing backwaters.

To the older children
The pool invoked hidden memories,
And as of instinct,
Quaint apparel and all,
They plunged into the pool
And wallowed in native ecstasy
In the primeval broth.

But to the younger,
Who had known
No rain,
No the sound of thunder,
Nor the baptismal touch
Of warm rain
On a hot black forehead
The feeling was strange;
And stranger . . .
The erotic gentle caressing
Of the first rain drops
On their bare buttocks.

Harare, 1984

Poet's Note: A gomo is a rocky mountain; a dwalla is a flat rocky outcrop.