SAMSON RAITI MTAMBA Is a Zimbabwean poet of Malawian extraction (b. Harare, Zimbabwe, 1959).He has published both poetry and prose in Australia, in the United States of America, Germany, Ireland, and South Africa among other places. He has been practising the art of poetry since primary school. He studied at the University of Malawi, Chancellor College and was active in its Writers’ Workshop ending up editing the English Department Critical Broadsheet THE MUSE from undergraduate years to postgraduate. Briefly at Dalhousie in Nova Scotia. New Left. Interested in Poststructuralist Theories and Children’s Literature. Taught in Zimbabwean high schools and the Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU). Now independent researcher into the writings of J.M.Coetzee and Ayi Kwei Armah.
CURRENT: “DISABILITY, DEFORMITY AND DISFIGUREMENT IN CHILDREN’S LITERATURE: THE CASE OF BEN HANSON’S Takadini AND CLAUDE MAREDZA’S Harurwa”, JOURNAL OF AFRICAN CHILDTEN’S LITERATURE VOL 1 No.2, February 2013
PERHAPS IF WE LIVED NEAR THE SEA
Perhaps if we lived near the sea
Or in the smouldering desert
I would have felt loss
Real blood gushing from my heart into the grass
When she stormed away and melted into the twilight.
Hosts to capricious weathers throughout the year
We have no past of cavalier heroes
Who killed or died for love and land
Or fell off horses defending profligate cities of gold.
We have no chronicles of gods who could actually speak to mortals
Making the earth tremble with the cadences of their dreadful edicts
Against tyrants and swashbuckling braggarts.
Our poets do not declaim verse that drains water from wells
Being only simple peasants waiting to be hired on farms
Owned by harsh landlords, masters of droughts and spectres of floods.
Our maidens do not bestride the air riotously borne on the wings of song
Fired by a mad passion for godly suitors in fierce argument against unjust men.
No one here has ever trodden a burning bush and lived to tell the story,
Trollops and goblins live only in the minds of vain dreamers and adventurers
Writing to anxious families on the wintry heaths of the Cold North.
No. No blood oozed out of my heart
And I did not follow her shadow
Beauty without presence
Love without memory
A history without romance
And children without a credible heritage
Far from any desert, sea or sacred mountain
The fate of all my compatriots..
ANTI-IMMIGRANT ATTACKS, DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA,
Dare be surprised only if you are stranger to yourself.
It is only the time and the place that you are reacting to
Shedding shocked tears
Over the dismembered bodies of babies, men and women
Whom you grieve to see perish
But whose deaths are deemed necessary solutions
To itchy problems by others not unlike yourself.
Decimation and division
These we have always worked for subtly
For we are overwhelmed to affliction by numbers of others
Rather than our own
Threateningly worming the streets below our ivory towers
Black or yellow ant-like aliens drifting like avalanches of grime
Under the votive microscope
And like all pests, they instantly turn into terrible sceptres
To be instantly liquidated
Before harm to our well-being and futures
The jobs in the banks
The green of our parks
And of course our nice boys and girls, young men and women
Social security and pensions.
Here in the streets and alleys of Durban
They use crude boulders and machetes to pluck out and crush human guts
Like so much useless muck to the ground
Where the slick ones have quietly used the pill
Anti-migration laws, gas chambers or napalm
To snuff out perceived menaces.
It is ourselves that we must know, restrain and tame
Before the next Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Auschwitz
Gaza or Rwanda springs up before our stunned eyes.
SOMETHING ABOUT OUR SUN
Have you noticed something about our sun?
The big crimson ball transfixes his gaze upon us all day
Only to crucify himself in apparent self-immolation across the msasa trees
His blood-splattered face reflected in resplendent tints
On the window panes, the curtains
And the oily puddles where the children play every evening
A sin for which we must all forever atone.
He crucifies himself and bleeds
In the thorn bushes every evening
Causing us nameless fear and anxiety
That he will not rise again tomorrow
And with the usual habit of a befuddled people,
We can only weep about life, land and loss
Amidst this spectral artifice
Which we must pay for dearly all the time.