JP AT OLIVE GARDEN
asks us for a 'colour' poem
THE DARKNESS OF BLACK
Black is the depths of the deep dark mine,
Where only feeble lamp-lights shine;
Black are the patterns of Columbine.
Black is the colour of the midnight skies
Where bright stars flit like fireflies;
Black is the colour when you close your eyes.
Black is the colour of the wicked heart;
And the poppy's darkest part;
Black is the fruit in blackberry tart.
I'd been two years teaching in the bush and I fancied the bright lights;
Somewhere with a bit of life and sophisticated nights.
I'd left London and its bustle to live a different way,
Somewhere in the sunshine; I couldn't wait to get away.
And my two years in Rhodesia had been pleasant, as a rule,
But a teacher in her twenties chafes, living in a boarding-school.
Bulawayo, compared with London, was a hick-town, that is true,
But the weather was perfection; the sky a continuous blue.
And the city had a friendly air, with lots of bonhomie.
The Africans were happy, or at least they seemed to be.
In all my years in Africa I never saw dissension;
I never walked the evening streets with any apprehension.
Bulawayo means 'place of the killing' but this never seemed to fit;
The Wars had happened long ago and that was the end of it.
There was NO APARTHEID! Although true 'equality'
Was something not considered by silly girls like me!
I lived at a lovely guest-house called 'Banff Lodge', a pleasant spot,
Where all the guests were white, but a cosmopolitan lot.
As a teacher I taught children who had white, but not black, skins,
And never questioned how things were; that's how prejudice begins.
Today I hear the saddest news about the land I knew
And hope against hope Zimbabwean dreams will, one day soon, come true.
I offer some shots of the city and I hope that you'll agree
That Bulawayo, Matabeleland was a pleasant place to be.
Life moved at an easy pace.
The park held exotic plants.
The City Hall
The International Trade Fair took place while I was there.
The Matopos Hills lay outside the city. Cecil John Rhodes was buried there. The little hills are called kopjes (Koppies)
Wild life was never far away.