Ubuntu: "I am human because I belong. I participate, I share."
Bishop Desmond Tutu
We become who we are or are meant to be,
In a time of our difference no less. Let Mandela's words
Be heard again, from afar or close up, or with Gandhi's
Own "silken cord of love": fortitude and forgiveness are all
Because of a Godhead as we renew faith with dignity
Despite skin-colour, race, or ethnic identity bringing us
Closer without political manouverings or stratagems.
We hearken with passive or peaceful resistance:
Satyagraha or "soul-force," the Mahatma's own preference
At the heart of a struggle begun in the Transvaal and Johannesburg
Influenced by Ruskin, Thoreau, Tolstoy, or a Muslim faith
No less in search of unity, or the revered Bhagavada Gita
As all faiths become one; realization or consciousness
Of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s distinct ways:
This peace with valour above all else...which we hold dear!
The spirit's own quest beyond prevarication, I say,
As we continue to call for reconciliation, in order to live
In a better world; and a greater force it will be with Mandela's
Ubuntu spirit: a way to genuinely forge peace and forgiveness;
This sanctity with nations everywhere, despite upheavals.
Indeed with Bishop Tutu's "bundle of life," we strive to end
Oppression and rise up with spiritual force, or a destiny fashioned
In Mandela's Robben Island prison cell: the struggle against
Apartheid knowing no end; but with love's shining example,
This Allah or Brahma I discover with my own dark night of the soul,
Or the living self's errant ways, determined as we are in Africa,
Asia, Canada, or continents elsewhere, to move ahead in a new
Millennial time or our future's sacrosanct age.
Well known Guyanese born author and poet, Cyril Dabydeen, is a former Poet Laureate of Ottawa, Canada. This p[oem read at the National Library of Canada on Feb. 12/02 to mark "Global Reconciliation in a New Era" re Black History Month.
By Cyril Dabydeen
Flying into the Cheddi Jagan International Airport
in a moment of time with talk of love,
or a new destiny it seems like,
ceremonies beginning all over.
A further beating of the breast,
or imagining people in throes
because of where we've come from
with emblems close to the heart
Falsifying the ground as Arawaks and Caribs
look out without memory or pain;
only the curare of instincts, the arrow
bent into the shape of a rainbow.
I take stock of a country with all regions
as one from this Canada, this cold North,
or a journey with the sense of genesis,
so to speak, breathing in harder--
Making much ado of zinnia,
frangipani; the toucan staring back
with large eyes; a hummingbird doing
an acrobatic dance of its own
Above the eucalyptus; the stinking-toe
tree in a gust of trade wind.
Promises I keep to myself
as the races combine or simply mix.
All new states we now call a country:
one people with a destiny to uphold,
hopes we cherish because of timehri
shaped by crossings that I truly behold
While considering places my own,
the imagination's no less; strident voices
in me still echoing with time to outlast,
or what will never be the same again.
(From 'Poem in Hemisphere of Love'--a new collection released. Read at the National Library of Canada, in Ottawa, on World Poetry Day, March 21, event organized by UNESCO for the "Poetry of the Americas" occasion.)