06 February, 2005

He Who Pays the Viper

There are those who believe because
What they dream of is the house on the hill
White colonnades very conspicuous from below
A constant reminder too obvious to ignore
And because of the power the dream imparts
Commands others of lesser means
To carry out their wishes

Sometimes this is done with mindless zeal
Viscous intent without regret or conscience
The wedding cake structure of impunity
Each step underpinning the next
As they sail past in their Land Cruisers
Throwing a shower of muddy water
At the only set of clean clothes
Those who walk afford

I wonder what occupies their thoughts
But once on the escalator
There can be no backward glances
As those you protect also protect you
As you are part of them praise-singing
Their praises inextricably bound
Like the numbers on their Swiss bank accounts
The deeds to town houses in Sandton
To the silence of compromise

Willy Bach © 2003

Footnote: Sandton is a wealthy, mainly white suburb of Johannesburg where political leaders from other African countries are said to own property. Praise singing is an ancient profession whereby the power of chiefs was reinforced by his ‘court minstrels’. Today’s African dictators surround themselves with acolytes, advisors, ministers and military figures who are said to carry out the same function.


Post a Comment

<< Home