Friday 30 July 2010

Skeletons of War

The thing about skin
is its ability to break,
bruise, even
bend around things.

Bones need skin,
for a while.
Without skin
bones have no face,
but skin leaves
without a trace -
bones stay forever.

The colour of race
is thin skin,
a soft, changeable glaze,
a passing karmic phase;
but bones remain,
on land, in land,
bones stake their claim.

Zimbabwe's bones are colourless
structures of the earth.
Injustices preserved
can wait patiently for years.

But bones breathe.

Bones will speak
and their stories
will be heard.

-© Shaista Tayabali, 2010
a re-post for dverse poetics
Chenjerai Mutasa, Zimbabwean sculptor, recently created a five-work piece with Biblical and Rastafarian connotations called Future Seed. The sculptures are made from found objects, used materials, depicting the interaction between the living and the dead, and the bridges of healing.
The politics of Zimbabwe are too sensitive and complex for any poem of mine to fathom but this wrote itself soon after I watched Mugabe and the White African. There have been so many farms and lives lost in the violent 'land re-distribution' policies of the last ten years; what transfixes the viewer is the dignity of Mike Campbell and his son-in-law Ben Freeth. It cuts through terror and fear and beatings and translates through race and time until all you hear, all you remember, is the sound of a land worth loving, struggling and dying for.


Sam Liu said...

Your poem is beautiful, Shaista, so wonderfully written and so deeply poignant. The third stanza is breathtaking. The atrocities occurring in Zimbabwe are truly tragic and utterly terrible, and we should definitely be doing all we can to help.

Maggie May said...

this poem is incredible. the first few stanzas drew me in absolutely, powerfully.

Jo said...

What an incredibly powerful post...! Your poem meshes perfectly with Chenjerai Mutasa's art.

Jeanne-ming Brantingham said...


Sistergirl said...

Wonderful poem.
I like the first scupture it reminds me of the pain of living with pain and how one feels being broken in many pieces.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Fantastic sculptures and beautiful poem, I likes it!!

Brian Miller said...

whew...great piece...the bones will eventually have their say...the injustices line sets this very nicely...ugh...the atrocities...

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Arresting sculptures, and a profoundly beautiful poem of great dignity and power.

Lisa said...

Your words are profound and stark yet so beautiful. The message is loud and clear and so true. Only you can pick a real cause and turn it into photo through words.

Anonymous said...

very beautifully written. arresting sculptures!

ayala said...

Beautiful poem!

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