Another Paradise Lost

Find your maker's place

Pristine, unspoiled as it was

In the beginning and is now

Vegetated dunes unmoved by the wind

Which blows where it lists

Stinging ankles with the finest sand

To cover ixodid [1] bites

Creeping through scrub typhus

Into a raging fever that settles

Beneath a lime-green tree.


This is the heaven the Zulus [2] own

Bestowed by a blood-letting king

Rampaging scattered minorities

Bound with a plaited rope [3]

And a washing of spears

In the dust to dust of stampeding amabutho [4]

Taking hold of rolling hills

And deep valleys falling

From a dragon's back [5]

Into tides dragging eastwards.


Crying fish-eagles soar high above

Celebrating creation's blessing

In riverine larders

And conquered skies

Yet lamenting in sorrow

That nyala and lion lie down

Together in reserved forests

While Shaka's people fade

Robbed of the defences of nature

Weeping dry tears of emaciation.


Take to the hills where the Ingwavuma

Cuts through the Lebombos

And another generation shares

The expectant future of children

Born for a mother's death

And the loneliness of a broken home

Emptied of hope and the wealth of its past

Waiting to glimpse in the night sky

The enfolding arms of those here

For them under an empty cross.

July 2006

Kosi Bay

In appreciation of Dorian and Yvonne and their work with children (teaching and paediatrics) in a most beautiful part of the world, yet with very high HIV prevalence rates.

[1] The hard tick

[2] Zulu means heaven

[3] Inkhata - plaited rope - symbol of the Zulu nation

[4] Age regiments

[5] The Drakensberg Mountains