Through creatured screams rise deathless cries of pain,
full tortured on the sullen, restless breeze
that plays around Luanda’s littered veins;
as bowels open, children laugh and metal bars are raised.
A cry unearthly, streaming through the cloud of dusted skies,
to settle grimy feathers at the door;
as mercy calls in broken-winged appeal,
with voice full human, terror-drawn through teeth canine.
In serpent shriek, death’s fingers tease life’s song,
upon the lyre of Africa’s cruel heart,
where trickstered being rules the world
and flesh of dog or man may wear the welt of striking rod.
In childish dance, creeps laughter, light-limbed in horror’s world
in pebbled strike upon the broken form,
teasing bloodied paws from unforgiving edge,
in joyful celebration of cruel sacrifice; the figure flayed and scorned.
And in the dying moments, when screams are whimpered births,
then wiser, older voices call an end;
cruel ignorance takes breathless flight
and day draws dusky gown to shroud the awful truth.
Dark night creeps slowly, pleading touch upon the bloodied brow,
as Sun burns fading light upon the wounds
in shadowed fire, and healing kiss,
upon the cross of shattered limbs!
NB: A poem written when I lived in Angola and heard and then saw a group of street children beating a dog.