Rethabile Masilo
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Grave

The hour has finally arrived that dwelt in the depth of us.
Grief knows that hour and darkness knows that place,
Yet we have not been able to come back to ourselves.
The eye is round and troubled, marked by he who is dead.
A man appears from the hole and takes my hand in his,
Beaming even after working through the night.
They say he digs out the dark and sets it aside, but it’s really
The way he wields a spade and hurls soil over his shoulder,
As in a crazed rage of night, that makes him a friend of death.
I am a prisoner of the coming days, people known to us
Will become commandoes in their land. With stoic faces stones
Will stipple more earth, make Easter Islands. It is happening;
We are coming to; earth, take this heart and believe in it.
With fear abandoned and time serene, our malediction
Is complete. Mandela rises over us clothed in fair cloth,
With many leaping to touch the soles of his feet like children
Chasing a balloon on a happy day; they watch it go and weep,
And look into themselves; for the butterfly does not swim
Because it is a better flier. As for me, I shan’t wait for the feast
And after it the Passover, to lift the heavy marble and go to him,
Under the cobwebs, make him touch my head with his hands,
I shall wait no longer for I may never come this way again.

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