h1

THE 20th CENTURY DIES WITH NELSON MANDELA

December 6, 2013

Here’s Robben Island, where he waited
for the stink to grow so horrid
they would line up for new ways.

There’s Johannesburg,
a city that fouled the letters in its name.
But not any more.

Here the hospital he lies in,
while Death takes off his hat and,
out of respect, grants him a short parole.

There the players he co-opted,
Saying “You work for us now;
Your uniforms will be white and black.”

The 20th Century dies when he dies,
Its greatness and its horrors shoveled in together.

MARK FOGARTY

%d bloggers like this: