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Saturday, 16 June 2012

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Saturday, 17 March 2012

We Africans

I was listening to a track by the Nigerian legendary musician, Fela, and one of his phrases caught my attention - "we Africans" - two simple words that mean so much. I was inspired to write this poem.

We Africans
By Wayne Visser

We Africans
We, the spark of creation
We, first nation of nations
Remember us
For you flow from our ancestral streams
And your hopes are what mirror our dreams

We Africans
We, the crossers of high seas
We, the keepers of memories
Remember us
For you pulse with the blood of our veins
And you cry with the fear of our pains

We’re born, we rise
We open our eyes
We crawl, we walk
We’re learning to talk

We Africans
We, the fathers of hungry hands
We, the mothers of thirsty lands
Join with us
For your toil is sweat on our furrowed brow
And your guilt is shame for our here and now

We Africans
We, the sons of rusty chains
We, the daughters of dried-up rains
Join with us
For your suffering leaves tears in our eyes
And your great escape is our freedom’s rise

We plant, we reap
We strive, we weep
We serve, we slave
We hope, we brave

We Africans
We, the farmers of the plains
We, the hunters of the rains
Stand with us
For your food is our planted gorge
And your iron is our fiery forge

We Africans
We, the nomads of the sand
We, the stewards of the land
Stand with us
For your drink is our handpicked beans
And your wealth is our tunnelled seams

We dig, we drill
We bend our will
We melt, we mould
We bleed for gold

We Africans
We, the soldiers of the thorny cross
We, the seekers of the pantheons lost
Rise with us
For your chapels enact our daily sacraments
And your deities fill our starry firmaments

We Africans
We, the pilgrims of the crescent moon
We, the students of our earthly swoon
Rise with us
For your mosques echo our calls to prayer
And your mission is our promise to care

We kneel, we pray
We sing, we slay
We lift our pain
We praise His name

We Africans
We, the singers of life’s sorrow
We, the lovers of tomorrow
Reunite us
For your maps are our patterned mosaic
And your home is our ancient namesake

We Africans
We, the dancers of our freedoms
We, the voices of new seasons
Reunite us
For your culture is our rainbow display
And your genes are our twined DNA

We drum, we beat
We stamp our feet
We weave, we thread
We love, we wed

We Africans
We, the refugees of futile fighting
We, the tribes of lands uniting
Welcome us
For as you gain so we have lost
And what we give is without cost

We Africans
We, the migrants of opportunity
We, the leaders of the fair and free
Welcome us
For as we join as fragile friends
So we prosper in the end

We move, we tread
We search, we spread
We fit, we fight
We claim our right

We Africans
We, the archers of the starry sky
We, the askers of the question why
Celebrate with us
For the dawn is strung with morning dew
And our time has come to start anew

We Africans
We, the scatterlings of the rising sun
We, all proud Africans, every one
Celebrate with us
For our future fate is far from done
And we are all Africans, every one

Copyright 2012 Wayne Visser

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

African Idea by Wayne Visser

Just back from Lagos - my fifth trip to Nigeria in the past 12 months. Got me thinking about how Africa is as much a product of perception and imagination as fact and reality.

By Wayne Visser

Africa wakes –
It boils and bubbles
It stews and steams
Swathed and swaddled
In wisps of melting mists
And the feathered blue skies
Of my inner eyes

This Africa –
Drenched in sun and sorrow
Stretched in time and place
Bridging north and south
Cleaving tribe from tribe
Birthing a prodigal progeny –
Alive in my mind

Africa moves –
It spawns and spews
It morphs and multiplies
Enhanced and entangled
In human chains of need greed
And white lightning webs
Of synapses firing

This Africa –
Shadowed in war and want
Bursting with light and longing
Dancing dust clouds around fires
Beating drum songs of desires
Endlessly en-route –
On my famished road

Africa sleeps –
It drifts and disperses
It seeds and suckles
Soothed and silent
In fields of ripening toil
And the wandering blotch-herds
Of scattered thoughts

This Africa –
Whispered in myths and mysteries
Cradling its loves and losses
Chanting with hope and defiance
Hawking praise and prophecy
Woven in patchwork tales –
Echoed in my prose

But is Africa real?
This Africa of mind and magic
This Africa of dreams and dust
This luminous continent
Glowing in the dark interior
Of my gold-threaded caves –
This Africa of my psyche

Is Africa fact?
This Africa of books and bards
This Africa of fables and fiction
This luscious land mass
Teeming with the wild life
Of my untamed frontiers –
This Africa of my stories

Is Africa true?
This Africa of tongue and touch
This Africa of nose and noise
This muddled melting pot
Spicing the pallid palette
Of my doldrum days –
This Africa of my senses

Yes! Africa lives –
Africa breathes and beats and blooms
Africa strives and thrives and jives
Africa shakes and aches and breaks
Africa weeps and rises and leaps
Africa sings and soars on the wings
Of my imagination

This is Africa
This is my Africa
This is my Africa imagined
This is my imaginary Africa
This is my image of Africa
This is my idea of Africa
This is my African idea

Copyright 2012 Wayne Visser

Monday, 6 February 2012

In Memoriam: Karen Weinberg

In memory of my dearest friend, Karen, who died on 31 January 2012.

In Memoriam: Karen Weinberg

She made me laugh – let’s start with that
(The time she wore a witches’ hat)
Her cheeky banter full of fun
And, on my word, she loved to pun

Enthralled by British comedies
From Eddie Izzard to John Cleese
Held captive by Jane Austen’s tease
(Young Darcy jellified her knees)

And then there was that Stephen Fry
(She’d have proposed, but she was shy)
True, he is gay, but love is blind
And she was smitten with his mind

She lived for art and loved to sing
Such colours in her offering
The shadow of Matopos stones
The glow of rusty vineyard tones

Baryshnikov upon the wall
Unfettered horses in the hall
She saw the beauty, heard its tune
She caught the light, lassoed the moon

King Singers’ a capella hums
Or dusty stomps of tribal drums
Her world aloft on violin strains
Juluka flowing in her veins

Soprano voices in the air
Or Mama Mia’s songs of cheer
The concert halls, the silver screen
She soared the heights, she touched the dream

Her head was swirled with maths and stars
Her memories stitched with faded scars
She knew the dark, yet channelled light
She felt earthbound, yet reached for heights

She long ago left creed behind
And saw all faiths as intertwined
Her wisdom caught the ebb and flow
Of New Age waves and Oprah’s show

So deeply loved, and yet alone
She found her peace, her bay view home
Her friends and loved ones scattered wide
She was the rock, we were the tide

Just like a snowflake’s crystal maze
Her beauty sparkled through our days
And just as ice must melt and flow
Back to the source – we must let go

Our daughter, aunty, friend and sister
How we loved her, how we miss her
We will not let her vision fade
Now she is gone – I wish she’d stayed

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The Edge

Written after receiving news that a good friend has suffered a massive stroke and may not recover.

By Wayne Visser

The world is round
Until we walk right off the edge
Our lives are poised
Forever teetering on a ledge

Endless circles
Round and round
Until it stops
Without a sound

The world is round
A perfect, spinning, sparkling sphere
Our lives are strung
Stitched up with love and glued with fear

Start to end
We fall apart
We lose a friend

The world is round
But it may just as well be flat
Our lives are linked
Forever breaching this and that

No matter what
We reap behind
What counts is how
We sowed our time

Copyright 2012

Still Pond (poem)

Written about a spot in the woods near where I live ...

By Wayne Visser

There is a secret place on Hampstead Heath
Where ancient trees surround a pond of peace
Where ducks and moorhens strut and preen
Where a silent heron stands guard, unseen

The seasons lap like tides upon the trees
Budding and blooming and scattering leaves
While the pond breathes its living ebb and flow
From winter’s frost-glass to summer’s fire-glow

I visit there to find my resting place
A calm eye amidst life’s swirling pace
I visit there to renew my earthly bond
To find myself, reflected, in the still pond.

Copyright 2012

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Forty One (poem)

By Wayne Visser

Another bumpy trip around the chunky sun
With far less battles lost than new victories won
I’m far from my old age and yet no longer young
I’ve only just got started – I’m firing forty one

Another funky flip inside my clunky head
With fewer fears to face, yet ever skins to shed
I’m eager to find out what paths still lay ahead
I’m keeping my feet light wherever I may tread

Another chunky chip in my life’s hunky dough
With far less cause to shrink and much more chance to grow
I’m ready to become the star of my own show
I’m sailing on the wind and surfing in the flow

Another monkey trick of clockwork flunky fun
With no less time to waste and such great love to come
I’m gazing at the stars with dreams still left to run
I’ve only just got started – I’m firing forty one