*** On 4 September 2006, the late Maruma sent me ten of his poems. He had heard that I was putting together a collection of poems in English by Zimbabweans. For many-many reasons, I have not been able as yet to get the collection published. I have not given up. Among those who gave me poems are: Charles Mungoshi, Madlozi Moyo,Primrose Dzenga, Eresina Hwede, David Mungoshi, Alexander Kanengoni, Tinashe Muchuri,Ruzvidzo Mupfudza and Robert Muponde. I have picked out this poem below for you from amongst those I got from Maruma.
AN UNPREDICTABLE JOURNEY
(By the late Olley Maruma)
An unpredictable sail across the sea.
We all wish to be happy and free,
To live well and at great ease,
Free of the dark scourge of disease.
But how much desire do we have,
To help the unfortunate of the world?
For every peaceful knot you sail,
Some will be ravaged by the wind,
Leaving some broken ships behind.
Your journey may come to an end,
Before you are able to mend,
All the broken hearts you have hurt.
What will you think of as you go down?
Before chanting about your dreams,
Try to learn something about the world.
There is a chance your wishes may weld
Together with those of other men.
For it is people who are able to learn
How to empathise with the woes of other folk,
Who are elected to rule the world.
So, before you near the end
Of your many perils at sea,
You will discover that the key
To one of the hardest crafts
Of setting human hearts
On fire with electric love,
Is to learn how to hear.
As the annual seasons change,
You may be struck by a raging storm,
Far away from the land you call home.
It may be a storm with waves so high
Their crests lick the stars in the sky.
Sharp, gnawing pangs of hunger,
May then persuade you to crime.
Beware of living in a cut-throat world
Where you are always glorified.
People there are easily mollified
By a tasty piece of cake;
Because much of what they do is fake.
What they wish to do is live in a state
Of indolent contentment forever.