Visiting Zomba Plateau

Visiting Zomba Plateau

Could I have come back to you to wince
Under the blur of your negatives,
To sit before braziers without the glow
Of charcoal, to cringe at your rivers
That without their hippos and crocs
Merely trickle gratingly down, to watch
Dragonflies that no longer fascinate and
Puff adders that have lost their puff?
Where is your charming hyena tail -
Praying mantis who cared for prayers once?
Where is the spirit that touched the hearts
Lightly - chameleon colours of home?
Where is your creation myth? Have I come
To witness the carving and jingling only of
Your bloated images and piddling mirrors?

from The Last of the Sweet Bananas: New and Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books in association with The Wordsworth Trust 2004) copyright © Jack Mapanje 2004, used by permission of the author and the publisher

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1The New Platform Dances

2Song of Chickens (from 'Cycles')

3When This Carnival Finally Closes

4Making Our Clowns Martyrs

5In Memory of Matthew, 1976

6The House that Florrie Intended

7Sketches of London

8The First Train to Liverpool (Enfield: Liverpool 1, Stoke 0, 1972)

9Travelling in London Tubes

10On Being Asked to Write a Poem for 1979

11Visiting Zomba Plateau

12Out of Bounds (Or Our Maternity Asylum)

13Vigil for a Fellow Credulous Captive

14On Banning 'Of Chameleons and Gods' (June 1985)

15The Seasoned Jacarandas of Zomba

16The Famished Stubborn Ravens of Mikuyu

17Scrubbing the Furious Walls of Mikuyu

18Your Tears Still Burning At My Handcuffs, 1991

19Skipping Without Ropes

20The Child that Now Hurts

21It's The Speed That Matters, My Dear Padre

22The Seashells of Bridlington North Beach

23Now That Sept. 11 Should Define Mr Western Civilization...