Better Days

We were herding cattle when the boys whistled
In that vast hillside of grass plains,
the frost spiking in every step
The cold winds blowing ears deaf,
frost bite made its bed on my toes
the legs heavy with winter dew,
Bellies grumbling for Samp&beans,
my nose busy retracting
sleep tamped down my eyelids

The sun was dead ahead when the boys came tumbling
Our herd went astray, the wired fence fallen, now
The farmer’s corn trampled to the ground,
only stalks were left now, blood on the flanks of the bull,
My heart was done for, better than my chest
courage was the only way home
My dogs had quit the howling,
there was just silence and no conversation

Damn! those fluting calls of that village
My uncle’s face, tense. His eyes seeking mine
His fist clenched at his herding stick
He knelt down to tighten his boots
His feet were beat already, but this was no
chance for comfort, We had to run…

It’s a known fact that in the villages
If your cows tread the maize,
Don’t let dusk catch your feet
When the boys came flicking axes
We were beat by the sun
My uncle fell in the war…

Well, there were brighter days in winter
But those dark days took all the fame…


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