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Poet Commentaries

An African Man

An African Man

 

Somewhere in 1966.
Somewhere between
boyhood and manhood
I was sixteen
the train trip from Ndola in Northern Rhodesia
and Queenstown in the eastern Cape
took 5 days and 4 nights.

Somewhere between
the white painted Copper Belt mine house
and the red bricked Norman house hostel
I was at home
receiving a private education.

Somewhere between
being a Methodist
and attending 6am mass with my Italian buddy
Sundays spent rolling rocks down Long Hill
I was developing stature.

Somewhere between
Northern and Southern Rhodesia
I filled my first condom with water
to throw from the train window
over Beitbridge into the gorge below

and somewhere in all this
I became someone in 1966.

 

Hunk of Africa

A Hunk of African Earth
This dung beetle rolls
his ever growing ball
collecting Africa’s droppings
from the calciferous terroir
of the fairest Cape
steeped in wine and history
northwards across the Highveld
collecting the gold from its veins
the orb rolls west
to Namib desert sands
where mists of the cold Benguela
keep it moist
east though Zambia’s copper belt
always bigger
always richer
north to Cairo collecting
grains of ancient pyramids
with blessings of King Tut
back south via the great Rift Valley
to settle and bury his history
in Magaliesburg’s southern shales
where mankind began
here he buries his progeny
into this hunk of African Earth
to spread his humanity.

This Old Fossil

This Old Fossil
A rolling stone
I am not
no moss gathers here
but, I can settle
and have
due south of the Magaliesberg
ridged in dales of the Witwatersrand
my valley is so suited for living
that mankind rooted here
my great, great, great grandmother
was Mrs. Pless
my mother’s mother also African
just Lucy
I grew tall as thorn bush with the Tuang child
Little Footing it all over this valley
upright under the Rising Stars
yes, I too have spread wings
like them, to Egypt and further,
meeting entombed Tut
I’ve knelt in the Sistine Chapel
with Michelangelo
walked the narrow Ammonite streets of Morocco
I have tasted the morning mists of the Namib
Sponged on her dunes
and like Homo rhodesiensis
caught boyhood fish in the Kafue
but, my roots are here, deep in these limestone’s
caved in antiquity
here is where you will find my fossils
buried side by side with Naledi
where, like Orpheus did to Eurydice
I will look back
petrified
but now, I am here
Cradle-led with Humankind
and right now, my casa is your casa.

 

Clifford Lindemann

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