k!9 - 'the story that tells the tale' - Philani Nyoni
This month's poet isPhilani Nyoni, a young Zimabwean law student studying in South Africa. Born in 1989 in Bulawayo, he won his first literary competition in 2007 and began his career as a performance poet withZimbabwe Poets For Human Rights in 2008. His love of the Greek classics and epic poetry is evident not only in his chosen stage name, The Poet Pan, but also in the style and themes of his work. In this he differs from many of his contemporaries and contrasts sharply with the work of such poets as his fellow countryman Mbizo Chirasha (k!8) - contrasts, but also compliments. Where Mbizo bites like hunger and packs a bullet into his punch Philani's pen is gentler, seeming at first glance to be concerned with a world far removed in both time and place, but ultimately no less relevant to the modern African or world stage and no less profound. He is working on a novel and on his first anthology. It is a genuine pleasure to publish this whimsically titled example of his work.
OH WHERE ART THOU OH ACHILLES?
His torso was the envy of Apollo, Where he walked no man could follow. His chest was a breastplate of amour, Smithed by the gods, and he found humour In other men’s attempts at glory. A warrior fierce, A man rejected by nature, a man without tears, A breed of warrior unseen before Whose every step echoed "hero." But now where art thou oh Achilles? Where do you stand? Do you not lie restless among those men who you would send To Hades with your brandished steel? Where art thou oh warrior? In the grave still Or in the torment of shades? Where are you Achilles, Oh son of the gods? You who like a syphilis Of a kind infested the loins of Troy while Hector Brave prince, tried to scratch away the new factor In Trojan underwear brought about by Paris whoredom. You slew The greatest warrior in the world. Who knew That “valour’s minion” could fall to one man’s sword? ‘Twas great honour to those who could afford To watch your amour gleaming as you carved Your way through flesh. The only thing you loved More than glory was obstinacy, so you fought For ten years on foreign soil. You thought You had gone to conquer, for glory, yet death Found you a long way from home. No mirth For you, no smile. You sold your life for Glory yet, like all warriors, your victory Was recorded as the king’s and the story That tells the tale is sometimes distorted To paint you as some kind of a retarded Individual while the horror of it all Is the knowledge that, when men fall, Great or not, when man dances with fate He leaves all he is and ever was at the gate.
This Poem Copyright of Philani Nyoni 2010
kushinda! looks forward to your comments and submissions. Enquiries are welcome, please write to artskushinda at gmail.com
Philani's poem, and work by Mbizo Chirasha, will feature alongside readings by Dumi Senda at Kushinda!Live events in North Wales during June 2010