Wordview 2021: Death and Dreaming in my Language
Last night, I dreamt I held my brother to my chest.
An army of uniforms threw their batons into the air
and onto the body of a man I could not recognise.
What I recognised was the city, its commonplaceness,
the prophetic colour of the clouds and their promise
of something dire. Strange as dreams are,
Harare is unambiguous.
In my dream, my brother was a boy of three or four,
body a lump in the dip of my breast, body like pupa,
a metronome, laying close, leaning towards something
other than death. I’ve never watched someone kill a man
but at night, the happening came seeping through my door
and into my bed. It wasn’t the first time I dreamt
of my brother as my own child.
In my language, the dead are welcomed into the home.
But the word for home is also the word for sing, so maybe
invited into a song, to begin and end somewhere foreseeable,
to be interpreted by dreams, to give diagnosis to ailment, to clean
up a scrapyard of men from the streets. Maybe home is a dirge
invoked by dreaming, an elegy for those we can’t afford to lose.
Poem recorded as part of Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2021. Used by permission of author.
A special thank you to our WordView 2021 poets.
Chair of the Judging Panel, Imtiaz Dharker, says: "An idea that began as a response to the world shutting down has, joyfully, become a way to invite the whole world in. It has been exciting to see the entries come in from different countries, from marginalised voices, from people of all backgrounds who now know this space belongs to them. My fellow judges and I were struck by the immediacy of experience and commitment to language in the winning entries. It's also good to think that the rest of the entries will continue to be seen as an invaluable record of our times."See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2021 playlist