Rhodesian Recriminations

 She left when she was only five

too young to be responsible,

too young to feel any guilt.

The smell of a wooden cooking fire

and the black woman who brought

her up carrying her on her back

lingering, and taking her back

to Zimbabwe before she was five.

It was her white parents who brought

her here, being responsible

for the ethical traits which fire

her feelings of shame and guilt.

Her sensitivity to guilt,

inability to look back

without a conscience on fire

to times when she was only five.

To when she felt responsible

for all the injustices brought

to her beautiful homeland, brought

before she could know the guilt,

before she felt responsible.

Now she wants to take it all back

to way, way before she was five

to stamp out the raging fire:

way, way before the guns would fire

and young men in coffins be brought

home, after nineteen sixty-five.

Before duty had turned to guilt

way, way before the looking back

knowing who was responsible …

knowing who was responsible

for starting the raging fire.

If only she could take it back

and her birthplace be brought

to a sanity without guilt;

without Mugabe’s gang of five!

Put out the fire, be rid of the guilt,

be responsible for good times brought

back, to way before she was five.

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