A poem by Musaemura Zimunya

They came back home from bush haunts
and refugee camps the living and the dead;
and flew back from misery’s northern cold
to colours, bunting, pennants and earth-borne songs
that awoke History and tradition with a bang-bang.

Came to Hope-dawns and democracy with strings attached
and so we were reconciled to white faces
whose pride and heads had watered UDI and racism –
aren’t they keen to teach us compassion!

The year sped on caterpillar wheels as a result
but our ninety-year-old patience seemed to have endless reach
so we could listen to the critics of our monthly
emigrations statistics without wishing for another Ben-Bella.

Then, also, Bulawayo was a place of killing again
to remind us that our peace was a hasty marriage
where we had no training camps for a new order –
to say that the power of peace must be in the new age
reside in hearts of Ndebele and Shona, not in gun-barrels.

Yet when quiet returned in the area of madness
Chaminuka’s words came torrenting and torrenting
and seriously we wondered who would stop this Rain,
or dare we murder another mhondoro?

Or dare we have more petals of blood simply
because someone’s whim pleads for more petals of blood
tomorrow and tomorrow when most want life and rest?
We, indeed, are arrivants with blister feet and broken bones
that will learn the end of one journey
begins another.


© 1982, Musaemura Zimunya
From: Kingfisher, Jikinya and other poems
Publisher: Longman, Harare