Published Poetry in the Park No.3 Spring 2015.
|Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela 1918 - 2013|
How can I call you, my father, a terrorist,
even though you chose terror to first show our enemies
the error of their ways?
You chose peace, when their eyes had been opened.
I am of the time of apartheid,
a time when I walked always with one eye open,
even when I slept,
a time when it was an aggression for a person
to look up,
a time when coming from school, I was told
if I saw a policeman –a protector–
I should straight away run to the first door I see
and run into that house, and straight to the bedroom
and there to put on any dress I could find
and go, and start to wash the dishes.
I am of that time
when all that would have been mine
was a job in white man’s house
where I could clean his house and his dogs,
and travel home each night
so his children and skinny wife could remain clean.
He is my Daddy!
It is he who set me free
so now I walk this earth with my head held high
and am able to look all of you in the eye.
Mandela the terrorist fought for my freedom.
Mandela the prisoner remained caged when I grew.
Mandela. Free. Brought peace to this land.
Do not ask me to condemn my deliverance,
and certainly do not ask me to make the decision
when is it best to be a terrorist,
and when is it best to hold out the hand of peace?
I am but a simple person
and leave such decisions to the great and the brave.
©Niall OConnor 2013