[Poem] Shards, by John Eppel

In a low country clear of the hills,
near where the Shashani River spills
in a good season — discovered there,
Early Stone Age tools, hand- axes, rare
now that plunderers, from the Trekker
(known to his foes as Ndaleka),
through the likes of Carl Mauch, Thomas Baines,
to Cecil John Rhodes and other stains
of imperial ink, have come and gone,
some under the ground and some upon.

Rare too are the human bits that in
more recent times, still adorned with skin,
in that low country of thorns and spines,
just clear of the hills, long worked-out mines
like Antelope, there discovered,
dropped down abandoned shafts and covered
with leafy branches, clumps of grass, stones,
because the police have moved the bones,
some muscle still attached to a groin,
and a 1980 five cent coin.

(c) John Eppel, 2008

About the author

John Eppel is an award-winning poet, novelist and short story writer. His books include the novels, D.G.G. Berry’s The Great North Road ( Carrefour-Hippogriff, 1992); Hatchings (Carrefour, 1993) and The Giraffe Man (Queillerie, 1994). His latest novel, The English Teacher (extract) is due out shortly from amaBooks.


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