Poems

A Well

The fountain of the water of health is open
The frogs in the valley of civilisation/education invite us
To come closer to their concert
That leads the giant
By the long steps that he takes
With a copper dagger in the navel
A bow and arrows in hand                                                                 
He then kneels down at the well
Ready to pierce him/anyone who approaches
For a hero does not die in the middle of robbers
But like a lion on prey.

We cannot scoop water anymore
And the ink in our pens has run dry of ink.
He who will push [somebody] forward by pen
Will be called the hero of lies!
He who took his stand in the centre in fear
Even though support was not given to him
He opened the opposite door
Between wisdom and new understanding
The first offspring that we see.

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Comments (1)

Meg Arenberg

This translation sounds lovely, but I do not think it is accurate. I disagree with the translators interpretation of the poem. I do not read it as laudatory of Fumo Liongo at all—quite the opposite, I think Kezilahabi laments the hold of poetic tradition on modern creativity and applauds the hero’s killer for figuratively opening a door to a new generation of poets unrestrained by this tradition.

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