Keep them close

by Xihluke Mlangeni


There was never smoke without a fire
nor a tail without a head

Behind every loss
are memories that drift in the sky
when the soul rises

Father died one day

And on that cold pained morning
his daughter was left to sigh
No more hugs when she comes in
across the room at midnight
straight into lonely days at home

What we care about the most can disappear
so give them time
even if you don’t have it
Listen to every word they say
if it’s children with bad marks
or girls with bad lips
or grannies losing their minds
Keep them because they’re yours
keep them, keep them close

Down the mountain
a friend is lonely and lost
No shoulder to cry on
no father to guide

But he’s a seed
rolling down the mountain
A brother who will never surrender
He’s a soldier who touches my soul
Leaves my face wet with tears

When he’s hungry
I’m there to feed him knowledge
Down the mountain
A friend is always there
ready to receive

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Myesha Jenkins – Tribute

Botsotso would like to pay homage to Myesha Jenkins, the poet and promoter of poetry who died on Saturday, 05 September 2020. Myesha was a founder member of Feelah Sistah, the all-woman poetry group that in its time made such an impact. Thereafter, she was indefatigable in organising and strengthening poetry platforms on radio and for live performance/readings. Myesha’s work was included in two Botsotso productions – the anthology Isis X and the recording Roots and Branches. Her spirit as a politically conscious, jazz-loving artist lives on and is well expressed in her seminal poem Autobiography which was included in both these projects.

Click here to read Autobiography, a poem by Myesha Jenkins.

A Call for Submissions: Johannesburg in Poetry