By Mbizo Chirasha
Pain scribbled signatures in these mothers’ buttocks,
War tied ropes of struggle around these mothers’ necks.
Songs of suffering are sung and unheard
in the congregations of townships and mountains
searching for freedoms’ seeds.
The seeds of these mothers’ wombs yearn for a freedom
too far away to be harvested, but not forgotten.
These mothers’ bodies speak of truth.
These mothers’ bodies carry scars.
These mothers’ dimples are resilient,
These mothers’ smiles and laughter offer hope.
These mothers’ thighs are graffitied with bullet bruises,
the valleys of their backs reek
with the blood of their sons,
sons long buried in barrels of violence
their lives stolen in their greenness.
These mothers’ hands trust the red clay soil,
even during cloudless seasons.
These mothers’ wombs give birth to rays of dawn.
These mothers scribble memories on prison walls with rainbows
These mothers’ shoulders carry the weight of journeys
and hope, which rises ripens dies
and rises again with each new day.
Mothers, how many times can you cough up sorrow?
For how many seasons can you sneeze with hunger?
You have eaten enough poverty
and licked the rough hand of a war long unforgotten
for too many dawns.
These mothers unburden propaganda from their shoulders
delete the baggage of political slogans from their breasts
abort the luggage of war from their wombs
These mothers turn to the hope of reaching pastures
where they can reap the fruits of freedom.
Mbizo Chirasha is an internationally acclaimed performance poet, writer, creative and literary projects specialist, and an advocate of Girl Child Voices and Literacy Development. He is the founder and projects curator of a multiple community, literary, and grassroots projects, including Girl Child Creativity Project, Girl Child Voices Fiesta, Urban Colleges Writers Prize, and Young Writers Caravan. He is widely published in journals, magazines, and anthologies around the world. He co-edited Silent Voices Tribute to Achebe Poetry Anthology, Nigeria, and the Breaking Silence Poetry anthology, Ghana. His poetry collections include Good Morning President, Diaspora Publishers, 2011; and United Kingdom and Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi, Cyberwit Press, India, 2010. He was the Poet-in-Residence from 2001 to 2004 for the Iranian Embassy/UN Dialogue among Civilizations Project; Focal Poet for the United Nations Information Centre from 2001 to 2008; convener/event consultant for This Africa Poetry Night 2004 to 2006; official performance poet Zimbabwe International Travel Expo in 2007; Poet in Residence of the International Conference of African Culture and Development 2009; and official poet SADC Poetry Festival, Namibia 2009. In 2010, Chirasha was invited as an Official Poet in Residence of ISOLA Conference in Kenya. In 2003, Chirasha was a Special Young Literary Arts Delegate of Zimbabwe International Book Fair to the Goteborg International Book Fair in Sweden. He performed at Sida/African Pavilion, Nordic African Institute and Swedish Writers Union. In 2006, he was invited to be the only Poet /Artist in Residence at Atelier Art School in Alexandra Egypt. In 2009, he was a special participating delegate representing Zebra Publishing House at the UNESCO Photo-Novel Writing Project in Tanzania. Visit his website at mbizotheblackpoet.wordpress.com.
Photo credit: James Jordan via a Creative Commons license.