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Jim Davis Nov 2018
Our eyes filled with wonder
Our minds twisted in change
Much like hobbits going afar
Then returning to sweet home
Our lives were changed forever

We rode slow and flew so fast
In tin cans from here and to there
Never taking off our shoes
Hardly touching the ground
Hardly touching Africa

Hiding behind camera lens
Wearing our face in masks
As a people not African black
Who worry not the future
Living easily in time’s moment

Like sardines aligned in tight
Wild creatures within confines
Electricity, steel, and wire
Tall fences stopping escape
To other worlds and realms afar

Except the leopards of night
Who easily roam across
All defined or artificial borders
Escaping cramped tin cans
Basking in Africa’s buttery light

Except for our African guide
With Christian name of Dexter
But named actually as
Tichayambuka Nekutenda
Nenyasha Chikerema

More comfortable sleeping in
Deep bush amongst beasts
Without down comforters,
perfumes, socks, or shoes
Living life in happy quiet freedom

A man raised speaking Bantu
in a small Shona tribe
Born in the Zimababwan village
Of Mutekedza in Mashonaland
East in the Chivhu Area.

From his father’s family
Given a totem of Zebra Brown
Then recited in love poem daily
by his proud mother
To affirm him as a man

Although he must also
be like the leopard
Unconfined in simple borders
Or tin can walls all around
Able to traverse the world

We as tourists were and are
Salty, smelly, near rotten sardines
I see him smile
And I laugh, and I know
Ndino ziva anorarama se  mbada

©  2017 Jim Davis
Notes:  The last line in Shona language means “I know he lives as a Leopard”
joel jokonia Oct 2017
plainly described by her name
chi tai tai
a light in thick darkness

if i love you would you change
pamwe nhai
maybe you not tasted love yet
i fear your desires
fearless desires
will and shall get you hurt
scared for an eternity, let
me love you

i know all your shananigans
but i still bother myself with you
i do, its a plainly true
that love is blind

but even now a century has died
i still wait
after your shine has been ******, out
i wait
can you not see
     'ndokunetsa nokuti ndokuda'
Netsai a shona name for girls mostly
Netsa(means) - bother
Netsai - bothering
'ndokunetsa nokuti ndokuda' means -i bother you because i love you
pamwe nhai- maybe
chi tai tai - fire fly
a light in thick darkness"
Chelsea Jean Apr 2016
She tied her shawl, the colour of Assam tea,
around herself tightly and stepped into the Jeep.  
She buckles herself in, speeding towards a future
as complex as the beading on her petticoat.  

India sky simmering,
gaining heat.  Under the sun,
the people are talking.  In the streets, whispers of
independence float by your ears.  

Dadamoshai smells like London winters
and ink-stained paper and comfort.  
Manik smells like tea leaves
and fresh air and everything unfamiliar.  
Both smell like change.  
So do you.  

Assam is a province frozen in the now,
stuck between what has been and what will be.  
You remember it as a fresh start, dusty roads
and reading on the veranda when you were small.  

Millions of people, all waiting.  
In this country, you are Muslim or Hindu,
and either can get you killed.  
Trains wind through cracks in the countryside,
and inside of the compartments, the air tastes like fear,
like blade-of-knife.  

India sky like revolution.  
The clouds jostling for room in the air.    
Below, people ready themselves.  
Manik’s ribs ache, a bandage
wrapped around his head.  
The gun sits in his arms, loaded.  
This is not the Assam you remember.  

India sky like gunpowder.  
The riots surge and fall back again,
and the tide washes away red.  
The future is not as bright as they
had told you it would be.  

India sky like monsoon season,
and then, it clears.  
The storm breaks, and after,
the flag flies India green--
Green, like the nation born again.
A free verse poem that I wrote inspired by the novel Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel.  Written after the style of "Saffron" by Ramna Safeer (
Chelsea Jean Apr 2016
You do not tiptoe around the subject of independence.
Sitting on the veranda, you all know that it will mean
insurgence.  Later, you look out at the carefully

groomed gardens of Aynakhal.  Manik tells you
it is safe here.  The bungalow is a good place to hide
from the rest of the world.  

You send letters to those back home,
writing of the lily-white women who call you savage
and the beautiful view from your garden.  

Dadamoshai replies with a list: Calcutta, Bihar, Noakhali.  
That evening, when the last whistle blows
you hand the letter to Manik wordlessly.  

It is the first time that you see your husband look so grim.  
They talk about it at the club, the next day
and Manik polishes his guns when you get home.  

Assam is added to the list soon enough,
and even home isn’t safe, then.  
The whole world seems to blow up in front of your eyes.  

The lily-white ladies are gone when Aynakhal combusts,
but Manik is not. On Dadamoshai’s veranda,
your daughter is crying.  You board the train.
A sonnet that I wrote inspired by the novel Teatime for the Firefly by Shona Patel.  Written after the style of "American Sonnet" by Billy Collins.  The title comes from the year that India gained independence.

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