Visiting Zomba Plateau
Could I have come back to you to wince
Under the blur of your negatives,
To sit before braziers without the glow
Of charcoal, to cringe at your rivers
That without their hippos and crocs
Merely trickle gratingly down, to watch
Dragonflies that no longer fascinate and
Puff adders that have lost their puff?
Where is your charming hyena tail -
Praying mantis who cared for prayers once?
Where is the spirit that touched the hearts
Lightly - chameleon colours of home?
Where is your creation myth? Have I come
To witness the carving and jingling only of
Your bloated images and piddling mirrors?
from The Last of the Sweet Bananas: New and Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books in association with The Wordsworth Trust 2004) copyright © Jack Mapanje 2004, used by permission of the author and the publisher