Wednesday Poem

With a Pen

A child will come to understand the meaning in their name
A tribe will retrace their pathway to the beginning of their totem
A people might preserve their culture for tomorrow’s generations
A simple prophecy in graffiti on a city wall, some rock paintings. . .
In a songbook a poet might begin an existence
Injustice will begin to see his nemesis in the distance
The simplest words might inspire a mother’s strength for her children
When love and laughter are prescribed for a family as their medicine
Planets in rotation in a cypher will write life a hook
Didn’t Ayi Kwei preserve our history in the pages of unpublished books?
Matigari told of the wisdom alive in one’s reading of the modern stars
The tales of freedom in this hunger that houses burning butterflies
Bantu liked our beauty and consciousness in the depth of apartheid
Oa Magogodi mic’d it in our first language, spoken word
We recite it on stages and pages upon which the unspoken will be heard
If in the beginning was the word, then someone must have understood that with a pen
A lonely heart will dwell in remembrance, the beauty of life with a loved one
A politician will authorize the massacre of protestors taking a father from a daughter and son
A starved soul will protest silently against that which has made him weak
A writer will alter the language a people’s consciousness speaks
An oppressive system will draw up title deeds depriving people of their ancestral home
I will write all night to inspire you and go back home all alone
An officer will incarcerate a man that refuses to bribe him and
A sick mind will stab to death another life with a pen
An artist will dwell in solitude with a pen
Politicians will steal many ballot boxes with a pen
Voices will not be silenced by violence with a pen
Ideas won’t die unseen
Recorded for tomorrow with a pen
Retrieved from yesterday with a pen
Yet today some will be too afraid to hold a pen in their hand

by Tswarelo Mothobe
publisher Poetry International, 2014