Africa, poetry, Politics



You are the white man’s burden

A large conscience in

A small moral frame

Filled to bursting with paternalism

And white water

Rapidly declining into

The lake at the end of the river

Blessed is the heart that dreams

Of lush meadows and happy children

Gamboling about like otters in a crystal stream

But some dreams do not have

The substance to survive

The waking reality

Of harsh morning light

No one has the answer to the questions

You posed

Because to ask them answers another question:

Who decided you could possibly have the answer?

Billions more born

Since you died

Your mythology only relevant to

Chauvinists and literary savants

But your music is a burden all its own

Upon our eyes and ears and tongues

Bleeding rhyme and

Scabbing grandeur always

Ripe for the scratching and the picking

A knowing frown always

Just hidden behind a naïve grin

English as language and cause

Color as manifest destiny

Oh how wrong you were

But there is nothing wrong

With being wrong

Only acting righteously wrongheaded

Will marr a stolid mind

You conquered continents in your mind

But the world proved you to be

Too much of a burden

For a freedom striving age

You are

England’s favorite fool


14 thoughts on “Burden

  1. And this too, can I borrow it as well? Reminds me of what a guy said in my old English class when we were reading post-colonial lit. It was something that came up often in the context of African literature. He said “White man IS a burden!”

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