Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Mutabaruka - "Dis Poem"

"Dis poem
Shall speak of the wretched sea
That washed ships to these shores
Of mothers crying for their young
Swallowed up by the sea
Dis poem shall say nothing new
Dis poem shall speak of time,
Time unlimited, time undefined
Dis poem shall call names
Names like Lumumba, Kenyatta, Nkrumah
Hannibal, Akenaton, Malcolm, Garvey,
Haile Selassie
Dis poem is vexed about apartheid, racism, fascism
The Klu Klux Klan, riots in Brixton, Atlanta
Jim Jones
Dis poem is revolting against 1st World, 2nd World,
3rd world, division, man made decision
Dis poem is like all the rest
Dis poem will not be amongst great literary works
Will not be recited by poetry enthusiasts
It will not be quoted by politicians, nor men of religions
Dis poem is knives, bombs, guns, blood, fire
Blazing for freedom
Yes dis poem is a drum
Ashanti mau mau ibo Yoruba, Nahbingi warriors
Uhuru Uhuru
Uhuru Namibia
Uhuru Soweto
Uhuru Afrika
Dis poem will not change things
Dis poem need to be changed
Dis poem is a rebirth of a people
Arizing, awaking, understanding
Dis poem speak, is speaking, have spoken
Dis poem shall continue even when poets have stopped writing
Dis poem shall survive you, me, it shall linger in history
In your mind
In time forever
Dis poem is time, only time will tell
Dis poem is still not written
Dis poem has no poet
Dis poem is just a part of the story
His-story, her-story, our-story, the story still untold
Dis poem is now ringing, talking, irritating,
Making you want to stop it
But dis poem will not stop
Dis poem is long, cannot be short
Dis poem cannot be tamed, cannot be blamed
The story is still not told about dis poem
Dis poem is old, new
Dis poem was copied from the bible, your prayer book,
Playboy magazine, the NY Times, Reader's Digest,
The CIA files, the KGB files
Dis poem is no secret
Dis poem shall be called boring, stupid, senseless
Dis poem is watching you trying to make sense from dis poem
Dis poem is messing up your brains
Making you want to stop listening to dis poem
But you shall not stop listening to dis poem
You need to know what will be said next in dis poem
Dis poem shall disappoint you
Dis poem is to be continued in your mind, in your mind,
In your mind, your mind..."

This poem was written in the early 1980s, and is the revered Jamaican poet's most lauded and well known work. 25 years after its creation, hearing and reading this poem for the first time today left me speechless and in absolute awe.

- DeeKay

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