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"Rest Camp"
by Emmanuel Sigauke
2007-09-05 09:05:07
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Rest camp! Brother and a few fellows
would go there to plunder metal sheets from the roof;
brother made pots, drums, and other household utensils
and he then packaged them, and sat them on the back

of the family donkey, took off on a sales trip;
he always returned a week later, with the donkey
now carting sacks of grain -
that's what kept our stomachs full, while outsiders wondered
how we continued to breathe,
that's what paid for my elementary education,
before, seven years later, the new government declared
(we are always grateful here) Free education
for the Masses! Free education to the children of the Masses -
and you know us, we read those books, we entered those universities,
that's how come you saw me making pots from scratch,
as long as I had even metal scraps from the enemy's Rest Camp.

Rest camp! Survival in a time of war.
Brother and his fellows stole asbestos sheets too
sold them in the village, and new houses sprouted
houses - real brick houses with real asbestos roofs like in towns!
As the war raged, robbed the village of the innocence of its children
new houses were germinating, new roofs, new dreams.
Rest camp! No enemy police, no settler soldiers came to thrash the village
nor even question us about the roofs, the pots, the donkeys;
The village had become the soldiers' new rest camp, where they awaited their enemies
who were our comrades, former children of the village
now oiling AK's and Bazookas in Chisiya Mountains: One way or another (and they never got it right), the soldiers died like roaches in their new Rest Camp
where there was no Rest place for them.

Rest camp! I can talk about the war now;
let me talk about the war now - you talk too.

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by2007-09-05 20:11:41
the hidden tears..........

Sigauke2007-09-06 01:35:25
Thanks, Asa?, for attaching the picture of the donkey; it gives the poem more life: that's just too much weight on the poor creature, but I guess that's what survival is all about in some places (most of my poems deal with Zimbabwe themes).

mbizo c2007-09-26 15:08:10
scintillating poetry

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