In Praise Of Somnjalose Poem by Sarah Mkhonza

In Praise Of Somnjalose

Son of mine! Son of Mine
The nation bleeds when spears
Are blood red and drip with dread
For we all see that this is the blood
Of the nation. Don't forget I am
Also speaking for the sons of others for
They are just like you to me.
These warriors of tomorrow who
Hold the shield that is spotted
Red and white look at me and
Wonder, what mother I am when
All of them fall and I say nothing.

When you kill and not think I also
Die for the nation dies. The women
Are me, my blood, and wear the same
Skirt that I wear. It is made of
Leather, but it tears into tatters
When you treat your people like
They do not belong and need to
Be taken to the world where they
Cannot fight anymore.

I am trying to hold your hand
And stop you before it lands
On the body of the nation you
Rule. It will burn to ashes that
Will never be lit with the tinder
Of yesterday's wood that lies
Blackened into charcoal useless
Even to beer brewers who work
Harder than girls who get water
From our rivers.

The land is dry as people die,
For your hand is hard and comes
Down in blows that leave the nation
Sinking in blood. This nation swims
In death for you are throwing wisdom
Away into the furnace of death. You
Cut down the tree that will make the
Shade you can rest under tomorrow.

Son of mine, listen to me, and build
Each person on a stool of knowledge
From the past. Build and not destroy,
That which will bear the fruit that
Will make you live tomorrow.

In tomorrow's world where those who
Reign with the toughest fist look
At what they have done, they will feel
The fist hit them and they will fall
Down never to rise again.

You have seen power used to cut down
The very tree that is your hedge for
It hides what you have that you treasure.
In a nation where respect is not the guide
Where those who rule see only themselves
And only a shadow in those they rule,
There is no kingdom.

A king is a king because of his people.
The people are the pride they sing about,
The are proud of the songs of yesterday.
When the mountains see this blood, they
Know that they are in the land of one
Who one day will wipe out everything that
Is his, because he does not put value in
Souls of the sons and daughters of the

When we stand as citizens that have done
A lot together, these shields will speak
That truth to us. When the warriors are
Dead, we will have to run from our own
Shadows for the Zulus are a force like
No other. We cannot even hide in the
Mountains for nobody will carry the
Food in there. Cold will melt our bodies
For there will be nobody to make the fire
And remind us of sunsets in a land where
People sang and raised shields in unison
Build for tomorrow, and learn to value
The words of your mother.

I take this seat here near you. From now
Oh nation! See me as a mother who can guide
For only with me around, can this son of mine
Do that which you want and keep the future
Looking at us instead of walking away from us.

Saturday, February 18, 2017
Topic(s) of this poem: life
This poem recreates the words of one of Swaziland's Queen MOthers, Somnjalose Simelane who lived in the eighteenth century and argued that his mean son would end up with no people if he ruled with a rough hand. This created the position of the Queen Mother as head of state. Swaziland has a Queen Mother and A King, because of Somnjalose's vision.
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