Four Poems by Fiona Khan

Africa Kills Her Son

I am alive, Africa!

I speak with a poet’s pen

then write with a weapon that cleanses the

hearts of despots….

Ah, Africa! My Africa!

Greeting heroes and welcoming them to her bosom.

Beating drums reverberating

waiting patiently for her children to whisper

in voices echoing rebirth and life on barren land.

rising from ashes of broken hopes and dreams,

rejoicing in human spirit

as the wind whistles whoops of joyous

cries of bohemia . . .

I kiss life tasting Africa’s sweat

I see only benevolence placing hands across my eyes

whispering the ghost of past, present and futures. . . .

. . . and upon my lips to breathe a breath that will speak

no anger nor wickedness,

raise wizened hands frenetic in forgiveness.

Shall I resonate to the leaves my pain

and hear the haloed echoes across the valleys?

Will you whistle my name upon your delicate breath?

. . . just once more . . .

hailing the fallen and saluting the dead?

My name is my presence.

Sing for me sweet Africa, sing,

if only a dirge . . .


She carries her baby on her back—

her pride of love and possession swathed

in the muted tones of rural Africa

her breasts carved heavily with the strength of her milk.

The bundle of sticks under her left arm

the water perched precariously on her head

her fingernails knarled, embedded with earth

heels cracked and cleaved with sand and stone

her right hand balancing a bucket of water

that spilled with every sway of her hips.

Wiping the sweat from her brow, still sweeps his hut,

Washes the clothes at the rivers end

and milks the cow, grinds the corn, with uncomplicated content

Tells the tales of old and bows …

She is the super woman

dish washer, washing machine, tumble dryer yummy mummy.

Her life, a huge spin that tumbles with each day.

Some days it is a rollercoaster and others a miserable lull.

She washes, cooks and cleans or alternately dials a house cleaner

or dials a meal.

It is all ‘quick and easy’.

Her disenchantment lies in her quest for perfection.

She still treats him like a King,

but reduces him to nothing

when she throws him out on infidelity, infertility and pomposity.

The Seeds of Xa

Hands of the baobab

knarled, reaching for the southern stars

house seeds of ancestors and shades.

Spirits wheeze through

muted leaves, slithering on the charred dust

as souls are captured in the fruit

while footprints imprinted on the stubs of root reach

for the salvation of the future

and the restoration of the past.

It is my home. …

The home of the nomad and wayfarer

free in spirit and mind

my heart belonging

to the earth!

From the threads of manacle we are blind

the spoken words sometimes unkind.


we have innate

the ability to dominate, then obliterate

not to appreciate

as in darkness we try and illuminate

the truth which can only be revealed

in effulgent cogitate.

The past echoes triumphs of the future.

The wounds of Xa healed by sutures

once revealed in the starkness of nature.

Seeds of the past bear fruits of the future.

This Land

Land, speak to me as I speak of you.

Caress me as I lift you in the palm

Of my hands and let you sieve through my fingers.

Own me by taking me in your bosom

Unlike I, who possesses and stamp my imprint

Scarring and wounding your flawless,

Beauteous, bounty.

Land that bites the hand that feeds her,

and feeds the hand that bites her.

She does not hesitate to illustrate

Or neither demonstrate nor remonstrate

her fury or scorn.

She ingests and regurgitates

Scintillates and fascinates

then oscillates in the circle of life.

Many have turned their backs on her . . .

She still welcomes them smiling

On a face scarred and ravaged

Wrinkled and savaged.

There is still a smile!

Fiona Khan is an internationally published award winning author and poet, one of South Africa’s leading children’s author with many titles, some of them on school catalogues. She is also an educator, lecturer and motivational speaker



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