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Half Sonnet for Nelson Mandela

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I have been putting up the odd poem in this blog, self-publishing what feel to me like more public pieces, and maybe worth getting out there quickly enough, after they’re done. There’s an element of the improvisational in these ones, for me, because they’re pretty immediate, not heavily revised. So here is what I have done in memory of Nelson Mandela, who not only called for racial justice, for human dignity and respect, but lived that call. I was listening to Eddie Daniels interviewed last night on As It Happens on CBC Radio about his friendship with Nelson Mandela: powerful stories of Mr Mandela’s humility and the politics of care.

Half Sonnet for Nelson Mandela
Fact is,
Nelson Mandela died today.
Half a cold world away,
the pared-down moon
hangs like a tin cup,
like an upturned palm
low in the ecliptic.
He said: own up,
atone. Moonlight
pushes it blue fingers
through the chain-link back fence.
Fact is, he said,
it falls to us
to put this world aright.
5 December 2013

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