IN MY LITTLE AFRICAN BOAT
“I remember that day very well;
Maybe I found something outside these walls
Of mud and clay
Pitied by our brother’s wives,
By their slaves and their children
And their children’s children.
And for something in our return, we were supposed to find the earth’s edge,
Or to follow the trails that were lost
Along the way; All this
While we dropped dusty cloaks in rivers filled with blood,
Running northward, southward, eastward, anywhere
But here. Not here,
But someplace else.
Quietly over the outcrop, we waited – quietly; watched
As the wind carried away our footsteps to one morning after the other
Until the night fell upon us from a different direction.
“Hush” it whistled,
For those who knew our voices; for those who knew our hearts,
No one had to carry us back home,
From the dim, wasted coarse deserts, having our friends to keep the day’s happenings
In secret diaries – safely from the hands of our lovers! Less is!
Years of pain!
Wax my name in your palm, oh house guard! Amid
The rarest dreams, shafts of dead faces and decaying bones. Grow my name
In your garden, richly in the open fields
Blooming over as I go. Turn my name
Toward the holy mountains where many civil faces will run to; scorned by the pain of night
Wars and healed on the passage of a homeland
With your smiles guiding me here. Heaven is a little way
Over there, with waters marching too lonely and filled
With magic light winging towards you; Un-blind me, oh precious saviour
Till at all ends unknown
Will I have fought in this world. And
Let me know when to stop. Let me know how to love. For now,
Then, all my knowledge has transformed
Through the frosted sea and through the woods,
Where no eye with its pale presence has ever faded into –
Or even deep into the pastures of green; Where no man
Ever called himself great…
Deep in the layers of mist, I could not find
Where that night dwelt upon or deep in the sleeper’s dreams
With his elbows dipped in foggy winters and pallid latitudes –
I could not find anyone. But here comes a second man;
His feet appear flat like the road; His face seems to have no shade, no expression,
No mauls and marks, no fear, no pain, no suffering;
No recurrent drunkenness, no self-pity
And no pride.
As if he knew where to go or where he hurt.
And he says: “Where is home now?”
In My Little African Boat is a recollection of the transitory moments in the last days of a soldier. Despite the war, he still had dreams – in a world covered with blood and dust, salute and honor.