Thursday, 3 September 2009

Frank M. Chipasula

The Burning Rose

an elegy for Mkwapatira Mhango

You handed them a rose of truth
but they pitched it in the fire

The rose burst into Lux in Tenebris and raged
across the early morning lake
from Mulowe to Monkey Bay
And the rose rose and bled and fell down,
rose and bled, rose and bled, and flew
up in one raging flame that licked your house
and ate up your wives, swallowed your children
and your guests like a rose hungry for love;
And the rose flapped against the walls
of the house that rose in flames like fiery roses;
And the rose bared its thorns like in a lovely snarl,
Thorns hefty liked a crazed cow's goring horns,
Hoofed with hatred, while a blazing petal
Wagged its long tongue up through the roof
And licked the children's cries
that rang like cathedral bells clanging
in the bald-headed tyrant's ears. And the rose,
Kyrie Eleison, fell like showers of clotted
blood poured in lavish libations on the kerosene
rose that bloomed from a terrible matchstick.

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