Tag Archive: humanity


International Womens Day

She Walks Alone …

she walks alone,
barefoot in the paddies of rice,

breaking her back for some precious grains.

she walks alone,

in jo’burg town, with a black eye,

smacked around by him the previous painful night.

she walks alone,

in the streets of neon hazed manila,

along the pristine hedges of rotten london,

on the crowded pavements of lonesome new delhi,

across the rolling plains of the vast bounteous pampas,

over the winding back-ways of the sloping and grimy favelas,

on the glittering pavements of rich and sweetly-scented jeddah,

through the blindingly false boulevards of that sad los angeles town.

she walks alone,

bearing the burden of mother and daughter
of cook and sweeper and wife and mistress and punching-bag,

she walks alone,

through your streets and mine,

standing up as she is beaten more down,

loving a little as the bruises on her face turn purple,

feeding the little ones with morsels of hastily cooked beans.

she walks alone,

in factories and in mills and in buses,

in schools and in brothels and in places in-between.

she walks alone,

staying alive on the alms of the ‘charitable’,

violated by those who from the pulpit preach.

she walks alone,

my sister and yours,

my mother and yours too,

my lover and your beloved as well.

she walks alone,

caged by society in its invisible prison,

a slave of norms and culture and religion and caste,

she walks alone,

but she is the conscience of me and you,

screaming at us silently in hunger and despair,

she walks alone,

and though fearful of you men she may seem,

be warned that she may not forever be this alone,

for she too dreams and thinks and believes,

for she too needs and wants and loves and weeps,

in the silent night of complacency while impotent mankind sleeps,

and she too will rise and in rising slay,

the beasts that in your callous hearts prowl and lay,

and she too will demand her rightful place,

for every mother and sister and lover and daughter has a real, human face …

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monday reading beckoning

✊✌👍🐹🌻☺

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weekend reading

👍

🐹

🌻

i d e n t i t y ?

rootless,
scattered beings,

unlike trees,
tentacled roots,
firmly entrenched,
in this earth,

we walk alongside trees,

embroiled in turmoil,
we hate, waging wars,
we discriminate:

tradition,
race,
culture,
patriarchy,
religion,
ideology,

rootless, we flounder,

racing through lives,
rootless, unencumbered,

seeking a home,
eternal exiles, uprooted,

complacent,
skidding, smiling,
killing, proselytising,

inured by dogma,
anaesthetised with learned prejudice,

basking in the illusion, that we, us, i am surefooted,

yet remaining exiles,
all, together,
bound together by gravity, unable to soar into boundless skies,

tearing each other apart,
unafraid, surefooted,

my country right or wrong,
my religion the only one,
my culture the best,
my tradition superior to all the rest,

my book the word of god,

smugly uprooted,

unlike trees,
deeply rooted,
fanning out like banyans, free,

not us,
paying dues, settling scores, doling out fees,

rootless,
floundering,
meandering through bylanes of isolation,

smug, arrogant,
assuredly surefooted,

in the only truth of my culture, my tradition, my race, my people, my religion,

my god,

have we forgotten the trees,

chopped down,
without sorrow,
desecrated,

once firmly rooted,
now flotsam, jetsam,

like i, you, him, her, us and them,

uprooted, snuffed out,

dragging along dead wood,

pompously preaching the rootedness,

of culture,
of tradition,
of race and of religion,

while we remain,

exiles all, blasé and smugly surefooted,

sowing division,
waving flags,
sermonising,

my country right or wrong,

ignoring the lesson of the trees,

of what it really means to be firmly rooted,

posturing instead, ideological fantasies, religious fancies:

i am right,

and thusly so,

you are all very wrong …
… …

Valentines Day Redux … … …

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be my valentine ... ?

Valentines Day Redux … … …

ah!

that time of year once more,

the expectations to do this, buy that,

begin to tickle and murmuringly gnaw.

should there be roses, and if so could they all be red,

or fragrant petals strewn all across the bed,

with some catnip on the side, pretty please and with sugar,
and dollops of whipped cream,

for that,
I do know,

would be my cat’s Valentines Day dream … … …

✌✊👍🐹

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

Immigrant @ Home … … …

the immigrant at home

fatigued,
               pained.

cast adrift,
                   shunned aside.

living,
          existing,

on islands of despair.

deprivation,
                     death.

human beings,
aren’t we all,
                     by the by,
     you and i.

‘humans’,

who yesterday,
many lives ago,

were hounded,
      persecuted,
                 jailed,

cursed,
            spat on,

rendered aliens at home.

then,
         suddenly,
        lost at sea,

mere cattle,
to be hauled,

onto desolate cages,

mere cargo,
in cold economics of flesh.

who,
       now,

are everywhere.

cursed,
            spat on,

told,
       barked at,

to go home … … …

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sunday evening 31 January 2016

🐹

✌👍✊🌻

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apologies if already shared 🌻🐹

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🌻

👍

🐹

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the queen

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monday reading

🐹


👍

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some poetry for the cat 🙂

🐹
👍

💙

🐹

✊✌👍

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she looks forward to weekend reading ...

🐹✊✌👍

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what to re-read, she ponders

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her reference material

✊👍✌

🐹

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🐹
✌ 👍 ✊

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🐹


👍

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she loves these books 🐹

💛👍✌✊

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the cat and her books #1

✊✌👍🐹

a child of war

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a child of war.

as she lies bleeding,
the girl who skipped, hopped to school,
all of nine and a half years old,
with ribbons in her hair and a laugh that was her parent’s pride.

as she lies bleeding,
shrapnel lodged in her torn stomach,
she stares at her skipping rope,
as her blood soaks it the colour of cherries her mummy buys.

as she lies bleeding,
she sees people all around thick black smoke,
blurred visions of scattering feet, shoes left behind,
hearing nothing but the pinging in her smashed eardrums.

as she lies bleeding,
she slips away and then she is dead,
a mangled heap of a nine and a half year old girl,
whose laugh was her mother’s pride.

as she lies bleeding,
for even in death she bleeds some more,
shrapnel wedged in her torn stomach,
stealing the light from her bright little eyes.

as she lies bleeding …

in jallianwala bagh in ‘19,
leningrad in ‘42,
freetown in ‘98,
soweto in ‘76,
jenin in ‘02,
hanoi in ‘68,
beirut in ‘85,

raqqa now,
basra still,
gaza too.

as she lies bleeding,
a little nine and a half year old girl,
whose laugh was her parent’s pride,
we know she’ll bleed more,

tomorrow and in many tomorrows yet unborn,

with shrapnel in her stomach,
ripped open and torn.

as she lies bleeding.

N O T
          I N
                M Y
                       N A M E …

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photo by Phil Moore (Getty Images)

https://www.thedodo.com/gorilla-seeks-comfort-1355648291.html

find out more:

https://virunga.org/patrick/

https://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Karabaranga/100007440884892?__nodl

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the stench of racism … … …

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1.

when rancid racism strikes,
in cocooned fungal minds, narrow, superficially deep,

an insidious venom begins to seep,

into the consciousness of the chattering ones as they sleep.

2.

beliefs held so true, so deep,
stripped of feeling,

empty, hollow, feigned, designed, branded compassion,

feeds conceit in chests swollen with righteous passion.

3.

the racism once firmly entrenched,

enveloping all, a comforting shawl,

needs little to fester, to mutate,

into doctrines of superiority, bigotry, hate.

4.

are we guilty of succumbing to this virulent plague?

sipping martinis, shovelling more, always more onto heaving plates,

falling, slipping into inebriated moments, without care,

as the stench of hate, prejudice, racism,

floats in the evening air.

                _______

Amandla!

The Struggles Continue … … …

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Comrade Chris Hani

Woody’s New Years Rulin’s

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in memory of woody and huddie and pete,

and long may the jazz and blues and folk ring loud …

double-helixed uBuntu

double-helixed uBuntu.

image

these interwoven veins,
dna,
double-helixed,

microscopic,
binding us, all of us,
together, as one,

species, one race,
human,

me & you

us,
all,

through
this common
shared
truth:

‘I am because you are’*

all of us
together
as one

me & you = uBuntu*

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* – uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses the “belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

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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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.

Homo-Naledi at The Cradle of humankind*

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shared hopes
on
bloodied earth
of
common dreams

winding along myriad streams
whose
source is here
beneath our multi-hued feet

flowing
into a shared humanity
this shawl that should encompass us all
by
binding us together
a species with blood that is red
always red

for
we are all

the children of Africa

branched off
spread wide

but
of this soil
and
of this earth

foreign to none
hewn as one

         _______

*

Maropeng is a Setswana word meaning ‘returning to the place of our origins’

http://www.timeslive.co.za/scitech/2015/09/10/Homo-naledi-a-new-species-of-human-relative-from-the-Cradle-of-Humankind

https://www.google.co.za/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.maropeng.co.za/mobile&ved=0CIIBEBYwE2oVChMImK2lnrTtxwIVA7IUCh0YaAJr&usg=AFQjCNHlzmroYaE8YJITfwla6qByM9RC-Q

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double-helixed uBuntu

double-helixed uBuntu …

image

these interwoven veins

dna
double-helixed

microscopically
binding

me
you

us
all

through
this common
shared
truth:

‘I am because you are’*

all of us
together
as one

me
you …

… uBuntu*

image

 

* – uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses the “belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

A Finnish Karelian and a South African Refugee (1990)

this is not a scribble.

this is living memory.

in 1990, we were in exile in Finland, where my father represented the African National Congress (ANC) at the World Peace Council (WPC) in Helsinki.

it was a tumultuous time.

the Wall had come down.

Nelson Mandela was a free man and arrangements were being made for us, along with so many political exiles, to return to South Africa.

it was around that time that we were invited to a Finnish comrades home for a meal.

during the course of the evening I saw my mother hugging an elderly lady, who appeared to be sobbing, on my mom’s shoulder.

it was on the metro ride back to our apartment on an island just east of Helsinki that mom told us the following:

that old lady was a Karelian Finn, who after the 1940 Winter War (Talvisota in Finnish) found herself among so many who had to flee Karelia and became refugees in their own country.

the old lady broke down and recalled her days as a refugee in the merciless Finnish winter of 1940.

you see, my mom and that old lady who’s name i dont even know shared a bond that transcended race colour religion political social and ideological boundaries.

my mom and the fellow refugee shared a human connection of shared pain, displacement, and loss and hurt.
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long may the humanity of ordinary people live on, often the poorest and most deprived and ostracised and banished who constantly cling onto the threads and fragile strands that make us human.

they remind us
they shame us

they jab us to open our eyes
they prod us to do more

and they tell us
what we know
but what we often forget …

that we, the people, shall always, always be many many more

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____________

with many thanks to the Kallio family of Helsinki, Finland.

for Anja, Jussi, Antti, Matti, Miikko & Liisa Kallio

thank you for your warmth and generosity of spirit and for your friendship

____________

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evacuation_of_Finnish_Karelia

walking through the crowd …

walking through the crowd …

alone
not lonely

traversing oceans
skipping mountains

tugged by beckoning smiles

absorbed along
endless miles

seeking strands of hope
loosely strung

untying the noose
where desolation once hung

while
scribbling verses unfathomably obtuse

discarding meter and rhyme

frantically
chasing ever-fleeing time

knowing
my moulting skin
is all that i have to lose

while still
walking through the crowd

alone
not lonely

an outsider

always
seeking peace
within

ever hopeful
of gentler days

when
healing may begin

soothing the soul

casting off leaden  weight

of so much that has in tne past,

past

The African Rains …

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.

a shared mosaic

a shared mosaic.

threads
intertwined
bind

him
her
you

&

i

together.

earthy
shades
colours

hues
fuse

him
her
you

&

i

together.

one mosaic

one world
one race

human …

him
her
you

&

i

together …

uBuntu = humanity

image

uBuntu = humanity

all roots
alive

weaving intricate veins

over our shared
common plains

feeding tributaries
slipping over streams

all so

one sea
one world
one earth
us all

may be fed

like our shared blood

for
the river feeding us

all of us

the river ebbing and flowing through our veins

etching tributaries within all of us

is of one colour

it is

all of it …

red.

  ____________________

uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

image

What is uBuntu?

uBuntu …

every seashell

ever silenced
emptied

lost to the tide

shares the desolation

of
each leaf
of
every tree

that ever fell …

_____________________

uBuntu is an isiXhosa/isiZulu concept that espouses “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”

uBuntu

uBuntu …

every spent shell
ever silenced
emptied

lost to the tide

shares the desolation

of
each leaf

of
every tree

that ever fell …

qwerty lovey-doveyness …

qwerty lovey-doveyness …

if they ever ask
tell them i had to leave

my blazer collar high
bittersweet pain tugging at my sleeve

if they ask
tell them i needed to hide away

from myself at times

through bleak nights
leeching each day

while all the while
scribbling a dream

( typed
auto-corrected )

on virtual parchment

( qwerty )

when virtual tears
metamorphose

from stillest pond
to torrential stream …

immigrant song

are we broken by spoken barbs spewing out of sewers cloaked beneath acceptable garbs while the blades of splintered humanity are sharpened into lethal shards of ‘my country right or wrong’ under the comfortable charade of clinging onto feigned piety dragged along weaving new lies obfuscating what’s right and what’s wrong waving flags like swords wielding swords to behead and to subjugate the many who’ve forever been on the wrong side of the gate shut out of the dream pummelled by untruths of working hard and doing more and shutting up because we need the money the greenback the notes the coins the oil the designer innerwear that barely shrouds the stench of putrid opulence of festering greed of capital and influence and power ripping out each seed by the by wishing a better life for all a hasty goodbye because when love and life and hopes and dreams and aspirations and desires and aches and yearning for something better just a bit better not much not much at all except for some grain for the famished and respite for the numberless banished cast away into the currents of the seas swept along islands of stillness breaking ashore with the waves of happenstance.

so yes
yes

“that’s how i got to be here”, the immigrant says …

i am unable

i am unable

to give up on you

you
who have etched your soul

chiselled deep onto the walls of my vagabond heart

you
whose smile is carved

along the alleyways of time

so wherever i may be
it shall always
be that smile
of yours
that i
see

June 16th 2015 South Africa

June 16th 2015
South Africa

1.

the blood of the valiant flowed,

absorbed by our famished soil,

our battered pained earth,

moistened by beads of collective sweat,

the endless toil,

where the valiant rest.

2.

or do they?

do the valiant rest
beneath our African skies?

do the valiant rest?

no.

they do not rest.

they recoil.

this is not what they fought for.

we’ve betrayed them.

we’ve betrayed the core …

A Meditation on Racism …

“…All we need is a voluntary, free-spirited, open-ended program of procreative racial deconstruction. Everybody just gotta keep fuckin’ everybody ’til they’re all the same color…” – Warren Beatty in the motion picture “Bulworth”

Ebola & the Prejudices that Lurk just Beneath the Veneer …

call me simplistic,

call me an anachronism,

but,

I detect a faint odour of old – time racism,

as the fear of Black Africa,

of Black Africans,

is camouflaged in haz-mat suits,

and carefully nursed,

fed, ratcheted up,

as the virus mutates,

digging up the fear of those ‘brown folk’,

‘these immigrants’,

‘the bloody foreigners’,

while mouthing platitudes,

to soothe the huddling multitudes,

solidifying the pervasive odour of thinly concealed racism,

and that’s the virus,

already a pandemic,

the virus of embraced ignorance,

of pleasant prejudices,

of the menace of the ‘other’,

the virus of raw, naked racism,

mutating,

sinking its talons,

into pliant minds …

Seeing through Me …

broken wings,

healing,
the tapestry tarnished,

bit by aching bit,

while,
all the while,

your eyes see right through me …

Meandering …

Meandering …

Streams ebb,
flowing,

whittling away rock,

gradual,
patient,

seeking the anonymity of the seas.

Tears flow,
ebbing,

carving lines,
engraving faces,

frantic,
raucous,

fleeing the comfort of emptiness …

Strands …

Strands …

a warm cup of tea,

a smile,

those bread and butter sandwiches,

wolfed down,

on so many a restless night.

random faces,
reaching out,

a nod here,
an embracing hug,

nameless,
numberless,

common – folk,
barely hanging on,

with nothing to share,

but shared humanity …

a knowing laugh,
that cigarette divided into four quick smokes,

those open arms,

priceless gestures of understanding,

though never pity,

remain engraved into my soul,

an unknown refugee,

the economic migrant,

the prisoner of conscience,

exiled,
alone,

lying dazed on that cold, cold stone …

Strands,

binding us,

you and me,
him and her,
them and us all,

embroidered by a shared humaneness,

the delicate strands of what truly,

makes us,

one …

Alan Henning (Rest in Peace)

Alan Henning
(Rest in Peace)

A working – class man of conscience,

is dead.

Murdered by ISIS,

killed by hateful bigotry,

Alan Henning is dead.

Shame on you!

you who wield knives in the name of religion.

Shame on you!

you who take lives whilst chanting God’s name.

Shame on you!

you who rape,

pillage,

murder,

and murder.

Alan Henning is dead.

A working – class man,

a father,

a husband,

a friend,

a man of conscience.

Alan Henning is dead,

yes,

you killed him,

but,

but,

but,

you will not kill us all,

for we shall always,

always be,

many many more.

We SHALL always be many many more!

Rest in peace,  Alan Henning

afzaljhb@gmail.com

Buchenwald – 1979

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

Walking in Gaza

Walking in Gaza …

Walking amidst the rubble,

a mother wails.

The bloodied rags that once clothed her six year old daughter reeks of caked blood,
stale urine,

death.

Walking amidst the rubble,

a father weeps.

The shelling reducing the home to bits of this and bits of that,
burnt flesh,
charred memories,

death.

Walking in Gaza,

amidst the smouldering school,

the bombed – out hospital,

the blood running into the sewers,

now clogged with emptiness.

Walking in Gaza,

amidst the savage fallout,

in – between the mangled homes,

the shuttered bazaars,

Hope lives.

Hope breathes.

Hope soars.

Walking in Gaza,

the resistance to tyranny holds firm,

as it has,

as it always will,

as it always must!

Amandla Intifada!

The struggles continue…

Madiba (1918 – 2013)

Madiba.

( 1918 – 2013 )

Madiba, you are resting now.

Madiba, you have joined the ancestors.

Madiba, you are with your comrades.

Madiba, you are with us.

Madiba, you are within us.

Madiba, you live!

Madiba lives!

He lives!

He lives!

He lives…

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