When Nelson dies,

All two hundred and six

Of my broken bones

Will ache for you.

Thirty-eight will pound for your

Children’s blood

That still slicks the grass roots in Sharpeville.

The fifty-six bones from my

Powdered feet

Will pang

For old dances in Sophiatown,

While forty-one endure Soweto’s

Unending pain.

A dozen of my old bones will throb

From your savage crimes,

While twenty-seven


For your unblemished reconciliation.

Thirty-two bones

Will hurt

For all your people

Who have had and not had

Colour in their skin –

And, when Nelson dies,

My heart will ache

For the loss of your

Lionhearted father.