Tag Archive: protest poetry

to the nameless soldier …

Your orders may come now…

…or at 19h45 this evening.

‘Shoot to kill’
‘Engage the enemy’
‘Hold the line’
‘Break up the gathering’

‘Ready, aim, fire’

but you have felt too

the stab of hunger
the bite of thirst
the bayonet of loss
the wound of despair

but you have seen too

the pain in a mother’s eyes
the grief in a father’s face
the incomprehension in a child’s down-cast look

‘Ready, aim, fire’

but you, the nameless soldier have heard

the cries of the grieving family
the wailing of the widowed wife
the quiet agonizing sound of the child’s weeping

‘Ready, aim, fire’

your orders may come now
or at 23h30 tonight
or tomorrow
or the day after that
or next week or month or year

but you have seen and felt and heard too

the agony of a peoples’ simple desire
the hurt of a nation long bludgeoned
the wounds of your stolen generation

so when that order comes


or at 03h30 tomorrow morning
‘Ready, aim, fire’

let your humanity muzzle your rifle
let your conscience dismiss the order
let your better side come to the fore

and let your very own people, your mother and your father, your sister and your brother, your son and your daughter, your friend and your lover
let them live
let them be
let your rifle fall to the soil of your beloved motherland

o’ nameless soldier.

compassionate capitalism 101.

stemming the loss

dripping red
arterial spray


amidst anaesthetised shades
of souls once alive

dancing under pale moonlight

pausing only for cauterisation
of too many wounds

dripetty-drip ceases

consciences lobotomised

and as it has been
and as it is now
and as it may be

numb faces

tango deeper
into the hollowness

the cacophonous void

signed and sealed

of deals done

souls sold on
profitable leases.

history …

misty tears fall on splintered parchment

history simmers

the shackles of centuries cast off

the chains of oppression shattered

embracing new horizons

trusting once again
in that unfinished dream

of less famished tomorrows

Who Killed the Marikana Miners?*

who killed the miners at Marikana?

definitely not the executive

nor the executives
far removed from the grime
and the slime

Who killed the miners at Marikana?

not the Prez
and not even the Press for a change


so who killed the miners at Marikana?

the unions perhaps
or the errant miner
led astray

in that obscene demand for better pay

who killed the miners at Marikana?

not armed cops,
firing bullets of lead into the back of the head

execution-style it’s been said

who killed the miners at Marikana?

it seems no one can be found

as bodies decompose deep under gold dust ground

while families grieve

ain’t no one around to take the fall

who killed the Marikana Miners?

no one

no one at all

* inspired by the protest song “Who Killed Davey Moore”, a topical song written in 1963 by American folk singer/songwriter Bob Dylan.

kleptocratic ungovernance …

the 1%.

snouts deep,
buried alive,

all conscience excised,

seeking more,
always seeking more.

the 99%.

shrivelled shadows,
tucked away under underpasses,

seeking enough,
always seeking just enough.


empire …

crackling embers of empire,

spew noxious toxicity,

weatherbeaten faces,

crunching marrow,

burrowing deep,


wearing down,

chilling the furnace of principle,

doused by carbonated fizz,

rendering consciences inured,

consciousness cremated,

ash rising,


amidst hazy,
just out-of-focus,

silhouettes of humanness,


spat out,
cast aside,

stripped off the moulting skin of greed,

left out to bleed,

as vultures skulk,
& currencies’ sulk,

– markets open,

– the horde pounces,

remnants of dignity,

as sweat pours off backs,
& as innocence roasts in shacks,

as the cacophony grows ever more shrill,



checking-in all humanity,
left to suffocate,

in a cashiers till,

as we writhe,

savaged & ravaged,

by the diktat of Profit,


innocence starves,

flung into the cesspool of want,

trampled upon,
barbecued on Capitals spit,

while hollowed souls,
wracked by inert life,

seek respite,
from want,


from ceaselesss,
merciless strife

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