Sisters by Lebogang Mashile


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A little something from one of South Africa's most well known Poets, the one and only Lebogang Mashile


Words: Lebogang Mashile, 2003


Photo: Sikhulule Ngxowa, Poetry Africa 2012


I see the wisdom of eternities
in ample thighs
belying their presence as adornments
to the temples of my sisters
old souls breath
in the comfort of chocolate thickness
that suffocates Africa’s angels
who dance to the rhythm of the universe’s womb
though they cannot feel its origins in their veins


Blessed am I to be love in the temple of my own skin
my nappy centre kisses the sun
in a harmony divine
devoid of the ugly that does not know this as God
but the sons of oppression
never gave sisters
loaves to feed the hungry fury in their bellies
nor did they teach them to fish for spirit


So I pray
to the voices that whisper in my soft curves
for the lionesses of my blood
to hear the songs of the cool reeds
to feel the green blood beat of cataclysm on their breasts
and to know the embrace of freedom
in nourishing silences
where their radiant ebony vessels
are reflections of their souls