Poem

One of the random things I was involved in starting in Geraldton was the occasional poetry night with friends.  From the first poetry evening held in the ambience of the historic Hermitage, to poetry around Johnno’s backyard campfire, last Saturday was to be the first poetry night that I would miss. So, in its honour, I wrote this little contribution that I thought I would share.

SWAZILAND

An adventure to the unknown, a foreign dot on the map

I said goodbye to those I love, too nervous, too excited to nap

 

Destination: Africa, The land of the Swazi

An absolute monarchy led my King Mswati

 

A country built by fights between the Brits and the Boers

With more HIV than anywhere else, it’s now a different war

 

I live here, a volunteer, yet still paid more than most

Working with rural women, “Gone Rural” is my post

 

Exported across the world, baskets and mats they weave

My role is to help in health: Diabetes, HIV, TB

 

Lured by skin that’s white, proposals are a part of life

My highest offer:  50 cows to be a second, or third, wife

 

The language is siSwati, the hardest I’ve ever tried

Three clicks and stupid noun classes. Each day, my brain is fried

 

Maize is the staple diet, beaten and boiled to mush

Served with meat: braaied, boiled or stew. To eat it, I’m not in a rush

 

Come Friday afternoon, it’s straight next door to the pub

“Mallies” or “Sundowners”, Cheap drinks and western grub

 

Every now and then I plan a weekend getaway

South Africa, Mozambique, or Lions and Rhinos at Hlane (pron. Hlan-ay)

 

The best weekends by far are spent up in the hills

Out hiking with new friends or biking for extra thrills

 

Yet the best thrill of all, what makes it all worthwhile

Is getting to know the women, their songs, their dances, their smiles

 

At the end of the day there’s nowhere I’d rather be

Except, perhaps, for tonight spending it with you and poetry.

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