If I have to leave – D.E. Barrell

Today, I have mostly been trying to remember poetry that I last read in 1998, for my O Levels
Thanks to facebook, I now know that the book we studied was Revival (which I am now scouring the internet for), and have managed to track down my personal favourite from the set, and one that I recited for a school production my final year in Zimbabwe. 
I still love it! 
Randy L. Rasmussen

Randy L. Rasmussen

If I have to leave – D.E. Barrell
If I have to leave,
…I shall take from Africa,
No assegais;
But arrows of laughter in the eyes;
From the Shona women
Sorting washing,
Stitching sheets with me
In a mutual murmer;
The flicker of black hands
Smoothing sheets
And my sons cradled in their shadow.
Laughter in the kitchen,
In the market, in the meeting place;
Shrewd glances over business
Appraising each other’s skills.
Black hands helping with sickness;
And that one wet night
As I drove her through darkness:
The awful pain of her childbirth
In my womb.
If I have to leave,
I shall take from Africa this strength,
This strange bond of women.

5 thoughts on “If I have to leave – D.E. Barrell

    • I think it should be that ‘cold wet night’ and I likely mistyped!
      I’ll double check tomorrow when my brain is fresh.

      In the dark recesses of my brain, I seem to recall a beloved English teacher explaining that the poet was alluding to childbirth necessities in rural areas – comforting arms of a mid-wife?

      But I’ll have a proper look in the light.

      Delighted that you’ve found this and commented!!

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