Monday, 4 February 2008


Malawi, 1991

My heart is stretched out over this land,
pegged down with sharp stakes of brittle roots,
parched dry by the oppressive heat
of this rainy season without rain.

Women with the desert in their eyes,
heavy laden, trample the ground, my soul,
their dresses, bright splashes of colour,
their laughter gurgling like springs.

Eagles with cunning in their bills,
claw the shrinking lake, my ebbing blood,
scratching for small fish – usipa, utaka, *
rage against the dying of the lake.

Monkeys, baboons, in hillside starvation,
break garden fences, come looking for food,
join herds of goats to steal the crops,
pull braids and ribbons from my hair.

Up in the mountains, thunder lurks
and deep, dark grumblings underground.
Dry packed earth and blistered skin
wait for rain’s sweet, wet relief.

Previously published in Candelabrum and in my pamphlet Bougainvillea Dancing

See another poem including clothes over on Over Forty Shades, my Alter Ego blog, here.

Clothes for Read Write Poem


Anonymous said...

From here I can certainly appreciate how well you have caught a drought in your poem. Ours is slowly breaking, now we have floods. You have really got that aching for moisture, essence of life in the poem. Great stuff. And the sounds are wonderful, you can hear the world in the poem, cool,

Anonymous said...

I can hear, smell and see your poem. Simply awesome.

You can try a sari. Please do visit India sometime. I will show you around.

BTW, you come and pick your award from my blog. Just click on my name here to reach there.

UL said...

"Women with the desert in their eyes", I could see this so clearly. Beautifully done.

Anonymous said...

This my favourite of is very, very well done, transporting.

Tammy Brierly said...

This was an amazing piece of work! I feel a creative drought when I've been away but you have inspired me to push through it.


Rethabile said...

This poem is good. Bravo. I like how it contains a Thomas line that I've read a thousand times, but in your poem, at this time, there couldn't have been another line but this one. Thomas used your line.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Gingatao - thanks, glad your drought is breaking though sad that there are floods

gautami - thanks, I'd love to try a sari - and thanks for the award! I'm honoured!

Ul - thanks!

Jo - glad I could transport you!

Tammy - I hope you push through your creative drought

Rethabile - thanks, yes Thomas did steal my line.... :)

Anonymous said...

I think of women in Africa, with their bright dresses. Wonderful description of the landscape, animals, and longing for water.

Linda Jacobs said...

"Women with the desert in their eyes" is such a good line! The whole think is just awesome!

Andy Sewina said...

Excellent poem! Great images, even when the land is parched dry the womens laughter is gurgling like springs!

Anonymous said...

How heart-wrenching. To endure such suffering while waiting for the rain......I can't speak.

Crafty Green Poet said...

mariacristina - thanks, yes, Malawi, south east Africa

selma, linda, sweet talking guy - thanks

STP said...

Your imagery and connection to the drought is marvelously portrayed, as is the desperate hope of the distant sounds of thunder and coming rain.

Rob Kistner said...

Exceptional -- what a rich visual cornucopia! ;)

Catherine said...

I always enjoy reading your poems about Malawi, you capture the atmosphere so well

Anonymous said...

great word choices

Jessica said...

What a beautiful poem! Lovely job, Crafty Green!