Township Shack

They called them foolish for building on sand –
The nomads’ choice following beachcombing ancestors,
Having few other options in the mushrooming city
Of overhead power lines dividing up the migrants
Who live from hand to mouth in shared poverty;
From pole and thatch to corrugated iron
Layered with cardboard and off-cuts of carpet
Laid out on ground that supports little
But native fynbos and alien wattle;
Sometimes wishing they’d built on rock,
Knowing that storms would beat against the house,
Destroying everything most regard as nothing,
Yet rejoicing in community, galvanized by adversity,
That picks up the pieces to start again from scratch.

Cape Town

March 2013