Zwelithini Simela was born in May 1983 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city. From an early age he took an active interest in poetry, including performances at school shows. His later and more profound literary influences were Dan Fluani ("God's Case: No Appeal"); Zimbabwean writer and poet Dambudzo Marechera; William Shakespeare; Thomas Hardy and the well known Chinua Achebe. Zwelithini is now a student at the International University Bremen, Germany studying for a Bachelor's in Integrated Social Sciences. His keen interests are African political history, and Development Economics and Diasporic Studies.
Poems by Zwelithini Simela
I Drift Away
Down the river
Towards the sea
Hopelessly I float
The anchor of love
That once held me
Has loosed its grip
I drift away.
I Drift Away (II)
How brute the winds
And saline the waters
That now I find
Myself in whose midst
If slavation comes
How slow doth his pace
Perhaps time exists
If only on my wrist
As the water dashes
Me up flashes
Memories of your face.
I see it now starring
Not at me
Into the eyes of he
That replaced me
I look away.
All foliage lost,
It lies there.
The leafage that it wore as the crown of its youth is gone.
The bark has lost it luster,
Home now to a multitude of creatures small,
The Great Oak.
Gone are its glory days
When it stood as an icon
To be admired and loved.
For the shelter it brought
To birds of heaven,
A haven for the curious infant, always digging up something beneath its branches.
The Great Oak.
It stands there now,
Quivering at the slightest breeze.
It lies there now,
Demanding naught but our pity.
All dried up.
Upon the very thread of life on which it hangs, it has loosed its grip.
To what use shall we put it now
But to furnish the hearths of our homes,
To be consumed by flames as we our glasses we fill to hearty laughter and fond memories
How swiftly life passes us by.
Short lived is man in his glory,
Yet all he accomplishes is an accumulation of anxiety.
O pitiful soul!
“The world in all its anger/ There’s always more to come”
The words hit me like a canon ball
Shielded by a cushion of liquor
My mind could just stumble in a drunken gawkiness
I knew what I felt
So I quickly scrambled together the right words to say
In the face of an indomitable foe
I could but wallow in pity and pain
Of not even being able to protect her
Where’s God when you really need him?
Here I come O Hades
Here I am O Sheol
Swallow me, thou great mouth of the valley of Hinnon
For what am I but a senseless creature.
Of what good am I to humanity
If my soul is my sole concern?
Live I not with people and people alike?
Hath not we the same basal desires:
Long not we all for a better life,
Gasp we not for air,
Thirst not we for water,
Do we not all hunger,
And lust not we all for love?
What is my worth prey,
What is my worth
If this basic need I cannot give unto my fellow;
If I desire it all to myself?
The self indeed is lustful in desire,
The strength it has over its person is immense.
I have yielded to it,
Yet no satisfaction is there in me.
The very marrow of my bones is a loathsome thing to my heart.
I have become to my peers
A desirable friend
But an ill-favored lover.
Upon the stead of this choler that hath befallen me
To a befitting end,
Where many the likes of me lie.
With the out sweepings of Jerusalem let me be consumed.
Rejoice O flame
Without a heart.
Just as I did my fellow man without a heart hurt,
With ill-timed words and scant regard.
Eat now flame,
Just as I squandered their trust;
Devour! Thou Great Flame
Just as I without a care used many a person for my own gain.
For just as myself failed myself to satisfy
So Ates shall I,
And many more after me
As the ones before.
She consumes without quench,
Her belly is but a bottomless pit.
Fall I now slowly into her,
To remain as but a fading memory of no fond recall.
Eat, flame, eat
For just as I did unto others
So it shall be done to me.