June Jordan

(9 July 1936 - 14 June 2002 / United States)

A Song For Soweto - Poem by June Jordan

At the throat of Soweto
a devil language falls
slashing
claw syllables to shred and leave
raw
the tongue of the young
girl
learning to sing
her own name


Where she would say
water
They would teach her to cry
blood
Where she would save
grass
They would teach her to crave
crawling into the
grave
Where she would praise
father
They would teach her to pray
somebody please
do not take him
away
Where she would kiss with her mouth
my homeland
They would teach her to swallow
this dust
But words live in the spirit of her face and that
sound will no longer yield to imperial erase


Where they would draw
blood
She will drink
water
Where they would deepen
the grave
She will conjure up
grass
Where they would take
father and family away
She will stand
under the sun/she will stay
Where they would teach her to swallow
this dust
She will kiss with her mouth
my homeland
and stay
with the song of Soweto


stay
with the song of Soweto


Comments about A Song For Soweto by June Jordan

  • (2/24/2015 10:13:00 PM)


    Yes Afrikaans was 'a devil language' in the way the white master race spoke to colored people, including a young girl, who emerges as the heroine of the poem. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 1 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?



Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 22, 2010



[Report Error]