At the time of Phak’s passing


A poem written by your Dad today on the passing of Phakama Ndlovu which he is sharing with his classes. He was Phak’s English teacher in Grade 10.

At the time of Phaks’s passing

Who would have guessed you could touch me

Touch us

In the way that you have

A boy I knew so briefly

A man I never met

Your absence is a pit

Of questions and of longing

It is dark and vacuous

It makes no sense

But here together we live

On the sneering lip of its swallowing expanse

To lean over and peer below

Hold hands so as not to fall

To toss a coin into its depths

And hear its hollow chiming clink

As it vanishes into the huge abyss

I think, there is nothing I would wish than this

I do not believe in everlasting

There is only now and it is passing

Yours has added to the weight

Your passionate life, Phaks – a war cry leader

Has become a different threat

A reminder of our united debt

A chant for victory over senseless death

That this is where we live

In oppressive perpetual dread

Until the voice of violence

Is muted, silenced, spent

Our country is not a home

I tell my son, there are no monsters

It’s time to sleep

But for the rising shadow

Of fear and greed

And shame in deed

Of shots that ring out

And echo in the chamber

That once held your vital heart

That beat

And beat

And beat

By David Goodwin