Poem for Barack Obama

RICHARD OF YORK GAVE BATTLE IN VAIN
for Barack Obama

The world has been cut
into pieces with the knife
of greed: this new one
lives in all worlds with
his skin, and has been sent
to turn us into
one separate thing,
fit the colours into
the prism once again,
so that there’s light;
this new one knows
folks in a mansion,
knows others in prison,
oboe or shimmering blade
in their colourless hand.
He has seen places where
for many desert days men
lived under other men,
has heard their message
and seen their faces, painted
in the book of love. Men
lamenting themselves and
wanting life, with the cry
of a baby when it’s born.
This one has fallen
like a meteor amongst us.
The slavery gong has sounded,
calling off the master and
his dogs, getting the world
going again; on this black hole,
light that was held back
has now been set free again.
© Rethabile Masilo