Treasure Island

Diana van den Berg

(4 November 1945 / Durban, South Africa)

Africa Mercy


Floating embodiment
of grace
and spirit of the good!

O, world, drowning in self,
see,
know,
understand,
learn
and do likewise
- with a smile
- or a life.

All of us
rich or poor
should, must
and, most of all, can.
It’s easy.
All we need
is a heart,
a mind
and a compass.
The choice is yours and mine
with every breath
we receive
with or without gratitude.

Come, world, let us take hands,
not arms.
Let us bask in our blessings
and invest them
in a world
worthy of our children.
Masakhani.
Let us build a ship together
and call it World Mercy
and steer it towards
the sunrise.

(25 May 2007)

Submitted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, September 18, 2013
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Poet's Notes about The Poem

Africa Mercy is the name of an international hospital ship, funded by an Irish singer (Bonil – spelling?) and the governments of several countries, that had just docked in Monrovia, Liberia at the time of writing this poem, for a few months before going to Sierra Leone. It has five surgical theatres and is offering free medical attention to countries in Africa. I heard about it tonight on TV news.

'Masakhani' is a Zulu word that means “Let us build together” and it is pronounced more or less Muss-a-car-ni – with the “car” pronounced as a very open sound as an Australian would.

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Comments about this poem (Africa Mercy by Diana van den Berg )

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  • Frank Bana (9/18/2013 8:08:00 AM)

    Mercy is the quality that we all need, and need to show to one another. Just a lovely, sweet and elegant poem. Thak you. (Report) Reply

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