Tag Archive: freedom


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another year …

​as another flees, soaked scarlet by war, choked by the famished cries of the baby, torn by the screeching of hate, adulterated by the politics of intolerance, bruised by gender-based violence, shaming humanity by female genital mutilation, ripping our souls out by wanton greed, trashing our world with mountains of waste, scarring our planet with the oblivious ignorance of climate change, hacking us, binding us with the knots of intolerable pain,


and so, may the coming year be less violent, and more equitable to all.


idealistic claptrap? yes, I know, I know …


but at times like these hope is all that I know I  know …

farewell to Nelson Mandela

Today, as our thoughts and tears and love flow to our beloved President Nelson Mandela,

We, human-beings the world over,

say thank you, Madiba!

Thank you for your life, a life of principle,
a life of struggle,
of torture, of pain, of loss,

of a selflessness that you have embodied so completely.

In this often cold and callous world,

where we have been jaded by war, by intolerance, by racism, prejudice, and so so much economic and social injustice,

your living spirit shall live on!

your body, that has endured so so much,

your heart, your mind, your very self, which injustice and tyranny tried so hard to break,

shines on!

Your spirit shines and shall be the torch that we, your children the world over,
shall carry forward…

you may be struggling for life today,

but you have breathed life,

into the hearts of countless downtrodden people this world over.

I don’t know what to say,

my heart breaks today,

I want to cry, and I am crying now,

with a sense of loss and of sadness that I have felt when my mother passed away,

I cry for my loss, selfishly,

but I know you have walked the long walk to freedom,

the long and arduous walk from struggle and sacrifice to healer and peacemaker and statesman and father, yes,

father to us all…

I will miss you, My father,

I will miss your comforting presence,

I shall miss your smile,

and mostly I shall miss the gentle solace that you imbibed in us all,

your children the world over…

Live on, you shall, Madiba!

in the shacks of the Sowetos of the world, you shall live on in that eternal quest for economic freedom,

in the eyes of the pained and tortured,

you shall live on!

in the whispered prayers,

the silent thoughts,

of the dispossessed of this world who still continue to be left behind in this cruel world,

you shall live on!

Thank you, Nelson Mandela, as you make your way to join the ancestors,

Hamba Kahle Comrade President Nelson Rolihlahla “Madiba” Mandela!

Travel well, and go peacefully … … …

Buchenwald – 1979

walking towards horror,
my seven year old eyes,

were sewn open on that day at Buchenwald.

the reeking stench of death
was by now,
lost to the winds,

and ahead,

stood Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Never Again!

we have said,
over and over,

and over and over,
but, but,

as Erich Fried* wrote,

it happened,

it is happening now,

and it will go on happening if nothing is done to stop it from ever happening again** …

    ____________________

* Erich Fried 1921 – 1988.

http://allpoetry.com/Erich-Fried

** taken from and inspired by Erich Fried’s poem “What Happens”

http://poetrypill.blogspot.com/2009/04/what-happens.html?m=1

afzaljhb@gmail.com

“first they came for the _____” ( Mr. Trump, fill in the blanks )

_______________

then they came for the. ______________

( fill in the blanks, Mr. Trump )

be careful,
the extremists appear to be on the ascendancy,

the brutal murderers of daesh and the neonazi drivel of trump,

so be careful: guard your mind,

never forget,
remember,

always,
always remember:

“first they came for the Communists …”*

* – Pastor Martin Niemoller

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Pete's Banjo

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Woody

May the 10th, 1994

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President Nelson Mandela's Inauguration 1994

Madiba lives …

The Wind Carries His Name

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Ernesto Guevara

They shot him down,
to silence a man of flesh and bone.

Even as the bullets tore through him,
the wind carried his name.

Far across the weary fields,
high above the stubborn peaks,
over the blood soaked streams,
the wind carried his name.

They shot him down,
to silence a man of flesh and bone.

Yet the wind carries his name,
to you and to me,
to them and to us.

They shot him down,
but his name resounds,
as it floats on the breeze.

And,

still they try to shoot him down,
to silence us all,
to stifle an ideal.

But the wind cannot be stilled,
and the wind carries his name:

“Che”.

(For Ernesto Guevara)

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Madiba stamp

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Guthrie Ledbetter Seeger

well they ask me why I’m so sore,
they tell me racism ain’t a problem no mo’,

they tell me that,
they tell me this,

sayin’ it’s a new world,
they tell me to bask in a state of bliss,

but i ain’t cool,
i don’t buy the drool,

cos’ I’m talkin’ post-racial blues,
walk awhile in my ragged shoes,

wearing my happy face,
jus’ tryin’ to make it in this godawful rat race,

so don’t be tellin’ this,
quit tellin’ ’bout all that jazz,

cos’ I’m sick ‘n’ tired,
of the sterile razzmatazz,

cos’ I’m talkin’ post-racial blues,
fallin’ deeper as i ramble in my ragged shoes,

don’t be tellin’ me about the post-racial status-quo,
cos’ I’m sick ‘n’ tired of the whole damn show,

yeah, I’m talkin’ the post-racial blues … … …

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” … I don’t think you and I are very closely related, but if you are capable of trembling with indignation each time that an injustice is committed in the world, we are comrades, and that is more important … ”

Ernesto Ché Guevara

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The African Rains

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uBuntu - the philosophy of the interconnectedness of humanity

Soaking,

the rains settle,
meandering over jagged faultlines of our memory.

Drenching,

the rains settle,
streaming through veins,

the thud-thudding of the heartbeat of Africa.

Absorbing,

the rains that settle,
within each of us,

herald rebirth.

And,
if you listen,

if you strain to hear,

while shedding the raucous noise of your inner turmoil.

If you listen,

the whispers of the ancestors,

speak to us all,
lending us warmth,
urging us to stand,

even though we may
stumble,

even though we may fall.

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Remember Us

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“Remember Us” at the historic Lileasleaf Farm Museum in Rivonia, Johannesburg. Please visit:
http://www.liliesleaf.co.za/

(Dedicated to the countless South Africans who gave their lives for freedom and democracy)

Remember us when you pass this way,

We who fell,

Who bled,

Remember us when you pass this way,

We who fell so that countless others may stand,

We who bore the brunt of the oppressor’s hand.

Remember us when you pass this way,

Leave a flower or two as you pass along,

Sing! Sing for us a joyous & spirited song.

Remember us when you pass this way,

We who fell,

Who bled,

Remember us when you pass this way.

Remember us in your tomorrows,

As you remember us today

Amandla! The Struggle Continues…

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the subtle constant of mathematics.

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rigorous proof.
simple. constant. real.

not this implausible charade,
illogical masquerade,

all our perambulation,
wasted wordy navigation,

our tottering,
our swaying,

our constant need,

to believe,
clinging onto inexplicable human need,

the belief in fantasy:

fantasy as staple nutrition,
upon which our collective illusions, and delusions,

continally feed

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the African rains

Soaking,
the rains settle,
meandering over jagged faultlines of our memory.

Drenching,
the rains settle,
streaming through veins,

the thud-thudding of the heartbeat of Africa.

Absorbing,
the rains that settle,
within each of us,

herald rebirth.

And,
if you listen,

if you strain to hear,
while shedding the raucous noise of your inner turmoil.

If you listen,

the whispers of the ancestors,

speak to us all,
lending us warmth,
urging us to stand,

even though we may
stumble,

even though we may fall.

common fountain

in a world tugging,
pulling, drawing & quartering,

each soul apart,

and as mercy, humanity, love,

effortlessly, and resistance-free,

departs,

embracing ignorance, hugging credulous unreason,

fracturing the human bones,
cartilage, tendons ripped,

shattered hearts, broken minds,

there can be but one answer,
simplistic as it may sound,

teach respect, not creed,
worship shared humanity,
shun lecherous greed,

then, and I fear only then,
may we truly, as one,

from our common fountain feed … …

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the illusion of control

the illusion of control …

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… so, life happens,
our infinitesimal plucking of strings,
somehow brings,
an idea, a glimmer of hope,
of control, an illusion really,

of just sort of kind of knowing on the whole,
just how the paths we dream up, are to be tread,

and so,

we weave, we dance,
oblivious to the fickle whims of chance,

we joust, parrying jabs,
picking at wounds,
scratching under scabs,

seeking this, that, whatever,
speeding on highways bound for never,

wearing our hearts on our sleeves, baring all, unashamed,

emotional sentimentality fluttering amongst dead autumn leaves,
starkly transparent,

yearning for that early ache,
that wondrous sensuality of synapses, sparking,
inflaming that early rush,

leaving me numbed,
in my shallow sewer, impotent and dumbed,

wasting away, lost in the well,
where no pebble ripples back

      ___________________

(brb)

(got to let the cat out for reasons only the cat knows)

     ___________________

so where we,
before the cat’s bells began to tinkle,
thankfully not toll,

ah yes,

the illusion of control … …

for Dr. Carl Sagan
1934 – 1996

memories of Madiba …

no more photographs, please!

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( Sweden 1990 )

live life now

live life now

clutching, grasping,
holding onto,

gulping down, hungrily,
each breath, every breath,

fearing the onset of the years,
the splinters of time

embedding,
piercing,

this moment, the very now,

numbed by repetition,
embalmed by trepidation,

of tomorrows yet to dawn,

suspiciously sifting through the strands of greying hair,

seeking clues,
the because to the whys,

the slow mornings,
restless nights,

jabbing reminders,
as years, decades,

scurry, scamper,
flee,
feeling it all slipping away,

standing, immobile,
stilled by the implacable sentinels at the doorstep,

these immovable sentries,
concealing the door,

that leads to today

been a long time walkin’
my long tongues been a-talkin’

blistering my feet
slipping and slidin’ down church street

lookin’ for a job
with decent pay

and here’s what all the signs say
ain’t no jobs round here today

so keep on a-walkin’
and a-talkin’

braggin’ and a-baggin’
yappin’ and a-waggin’

knowing there ain’t no place
that’ll bear my kinda face

cos’ i know there’ll never be
home for a-hobblin’ one like me …

scabbards

scabbards.

1.

aren’t we all,
at the heart of it all,

just scabbards.

mere,
just,

vessels,
into which,

we pour
our hope, love, fear,
desire, prejudice, anger,

scabbards all,
right at the heart of it all,

filled to the hilt,

brimming with jingoistic murderousness,

bloated on bigoted hair-trigger rage,

primed,
ready to slay,

in the name of something someone,

some entity deity belief oldage, newagey, or thought-up yesterday,

sounding needlingly familiar,

a few words,
names,
hearsay,

primed,
coded,

prepped to slay,
itching to strike,

that
first blow,

shock & awe!

drawing first blood,

drop by drop,
bleeding out,

blood spilled,
again, and again.

2.

the colour of the bloody rivers in flood:

red.

red to the hilt,
brimming the scabbards,

scabbards,

mere,

and finally,
just maybe,

perhaps,

just.

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