Poetry

May 17, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Reuters photo

 

By

Selwyn Milborrow

 

 

 

marikana miners massacre

 

 

the marikana miners went on strike,

it was a short-lived, but deadly fight

for a better wage to afford food,

to give a child a fighting chance

at a life waiting to be understood.

 

but the gunshots shook their world,

and revived raw images of sharpeville

that awoken the world to their plight,

a daily duel for survival in the mines of their minds.

 

it was a day of delusion and confusion

as reporters, police and miners

had no prediction what would happen,

and where policemen became soldiers

and miners became martyrs.

 

a grief-stricken mother consoles a child in her arms:

“mommy, why did they shoot daddy?

why, why did they kill him mommy?”

 

what does a widow say to such raw realities?

was it to keep profits high and wages low?

was it a message that black lives don’t matter?

was it another case of black on black?

was it a fight for butter and bread?

in the end does it really matter?

 

 

In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines went on a wildcat strike for better wages. The police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. The police claimed that they shot in self-defense.

 

 

 

 

 

dear digital child

 

(a parent’s fight against digital addiction)

 

 

child, it’s time to logoff,

disconnect from this illusion

you call a real connection.

 

child, no teen can cope with the malaise

of dopamine and adrenaline

from this digital drug addiction.

 

child, while you and your peers peer

nose deep into your screens,

you’re lured into oblivion of cyberspace.

 

child, i’ve invested in you

all the salts of my labour,

but you’ve acquired the tones

and tantrums of your peers.

 

child, as you grow away from me

with your screen dependency,

i draw closer to you,

and carry within me a dream of hope.

 

child, data bounces off fibre-optic cables,

and at the speed of light,

richochets against your screen,

and into your young receptive mind.

 

child, get out while you can,

i beg you to identify

what’s virtual and what’s real.

 

child, wireless wi-fi will wither,

you’ll be lost in dungeons of a dark web,

and in the universal breadth,

you’ll be a mere lonely speck.

 

child, relinquish your online identity,

shut down all social media apps,

and embrace who you are in reality.

 

my child, i long to hold you

like you hold your smartphone,

safe, and warm like a hug.

 

 

 

 

 

Selwyn Milborrow

Selwyn is an author, poet and podcaster. His poetry and short stories in English, Afrikaans, and Dutch languages have been published in various international anthologies. Two textbooks with his poetry are used as prescribed texts for high school learners. His first novel ‘Shades of forgiveness’ was published in 2017.

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