My father walked

He walked.
From Maseru to Teyateyaneng,
he walked to his father’s trading store.
Then from Teyateyaneng to Maseru,
back to his mother,
he walked.

From Shamva to Bindura,
he walked. Every Saturday,
he danced ’til dawn.
And on the seventh day, he walked
from Bindura back to Shamva.

And in the Qatara Depression
(“Spiders as big as your hand,” he’d love to tell)
he marched and marched
and marched right through Cairo
as well.

He walked up the hill
at Monte Casino,
then stumbled back down again
carrying corpses that remain with him still.

Up the hill at Gross Barmen,
he walked, children buckling his shoulders.
And then he walked back down again.

And in the last days, his hands
walked into Ma’s hands,
held on tight until
he walked right out of life
and into our hearts.

~ Peter Midgley

Peter Midgley’s poetry has appeared in Canadian and South African journals, and his bilingual volume of poems, perhaps i should / miskien moet ek will come out with Kalamalka Press in 2010. His award-winning children’s books have been translated into 28 languages. He is also the author of two plays, Archetypes and Namlish. Peter is currently working on a translation of the Afrikaans children’s classic, Huppelkind, and a book-length creative non-fiction project, A Truce Stranger than Fiction.

Peter will be reading at the Edmonton “Balanced Brunch” event on April 29. We hope to see you at the Fort Saskatchewan Public Library.

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