Ode To Cecil John Rhodes - Poem by Brian Hairbottle
Up in the rocky Matopos Hills lies a grave
of a man bold and daring, a man who replaced fear to be brave,
He traveled into the unknown, heading for new frontiers
with him were many other men, women and children known as pioneers,
with ox wagons and little else they set forth
for this new land unclaimed as yet that lay in the north.
The trek was long and harsh, no luxury along the way
with a wing and a prayer, they only had themselves to keep at bay,
the unknown threats of the Induna's and impi's, blood thirsty and savage
killing without fear, their strength untold, fear the women they would ravage.
The passing days melding into weeks, the trek stretched on, headed for the goal
men and animals worn and weary - disease taking its toll
No matter the graves that were left behind, the wagons must roll,
One man did not give up his dream or consider the move a lost cause
for he knew that in that distant place, there would be no pause,
he already had in mind a strategy, a plan and motivation
the dream, the vision was greater than merely a small way station.
No city or town alone, for that was to insignificant a boundary
grander schemes, money was no object, the goal was a new country.
Time and distance, travels wearing down the body and mind
the man - Cecil John Rhodes - was a man on a mission, he was to find,
a new colony, a new home, define new borders, the pioneers were to settle
every day in every way, the land would test their mettle.
Arriving at their destination, worn, their numbers depleted
turmoil, strife, attacks and disease their, spirits left undefeated,
the new wilderness was carved out, established a new town
gallantly pioneers settled and worked the land, tilling the soil brown,
setting up stores, building homes secure - pride in calling it Fort Salisbury.
Walls of wood for defense, protection against the might and fury
the Shona impis found the new inhabitants were there to stay
behind those barricades that were strong, not caring about war or fray.
So the settlement grew in strength and might
although not without problem or fight,
more arrived, the settlers numbers grew by leaps and bounds
ever more leaving to search out new suitable grounds,
in all this was a common goal of Cecil John Rhodes, the country was named Rhodesia
bringing new opportunities, a wonderful land - intoxicating as ambrosia.
Our founder, leader and visionary extraordinaire
had given all in his quest without care,
now himself was to succumb in unease
to the ravages of unknown disease.
His remains would be interred in a grave
over looking the land he loved, unto which his soul he gave,
the rocky outcrops of the Matopos hills
deemed a fitting resting place for a man who suffered such ills,
while raising a mighty new country
blessed with great people and endless bounty.
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