Pin-prick of dull hope, smallest coal
Clutched in such cold night;
African, the soul, sucks out his prayer
From a tobacco-stub's comfort zone
Whose hands cup a memory about the glow
Of an old fire of home;
But it is not warm in his chill soul
Where this

ill of other worlds is now.

– That other place where huts circle
And swells the sweet smell of woodsmoke
Round roasted maize’s warm cob in the hand
Is very far away, history, another day,
A perfume of acacia pollen and rain kissing dust
And the lost pounding of a distant drum…

It is something the wind blows through hollow bones,
A dead man’s flute, a broken reed,
Gone, in a far-off land, from the dream of another room
With an open-always door unlike here
Whose strangers know not his ways nor he theirs

For no horizon beckons the low of his boyhood cattle
Beneath the blanket stars and other-way moon.
No frog familiars nor fruit bat songs
Fulfil these dead walls where wild buffalo-horns bellow
Their electrical blaze of London or beyond.

Understand how simply he wishes,
How he wishes without words,
Without his own tongue even,
How he only wishes he could go home

But there is no now return to the life-joy stolen
And he knows no here belonging
Neither beckoning back.

Instead he cramps, coughs, gasps his last straw
Clutching for ancestors in a cancer of limbo
In the country we all call – No-Man’s Land.
© Bart Wolffe, Germany 2006

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