Wednesday, September 06, 2006
A World Away I Could Not Forget
The first time I read this poem, my world stopped.
The monotonous tap of the blacksmiths’ sounds.
Long shadows zebra the roads;
Partners stretch and yawn,
Their girls catch up on sleep.
Dew lies still on the piled maize,
And children tumble their way to school.
The vendors squat behind their wares.
Careful spenders have enough for food,
The careless flounder in the shade
Press emptiness against worn grass.
The pious wash and pray.
Heat stills the birds: the crickets sing.
Smoke curls to stifle the quiet air.
The lamps are lit: music begins to play.
As bars begin to fill,
The girls waken and parade.
Children quarrel their way to bed.
Life has been won from another day.
Jim Chaplin was Director of Monuments in Uganda when he was knocked down and killed in Kampala in March 1967. He was well known to many young writers in East Africa and put much of his own enthusiasm and interest into writing and discussing poetry.