It breaks the earth…

African sky
Brilliant blue
With clouds improbable
Puff balls from a child’s painting
And bright green hills
With warm grass
Worming in the wind
The garments of fertility
Fecund, but fragile.

But there a man scrapes back the bright colours
Exposes the hungry rust-red soil
And in the heat, moisture escapes
Giving the air the smell of blood
Then the pick arcs and thuds deep
Turning and piling high the spoil heap
The wastage.

And at the edge of Mbana’s mothers grave
A few people gather.
Here for the food and the warm weak beer
Sadness tempered by familiarity
Grief is now a thing for children
Tears can never turn back time.

AIDS
All Innocence Dies
It breaks the Earth
It breaks the Earth.

27.2.05. Children in need, South Africa.