FAO Quotables

"But being right, even morally right, isn't everything. It is also important to be competent, to be consistent, and to be knowledgeable. It's important for your soldiers and diplomats to speak the language of the people you want to influence. It's important to understand the ethnic and tribal divisions of the place you hope to assist."
-Anne Applebaum

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sometimes When It Rains by Gcina Mhlophe

A beautiful poem from the South African poet, storyteller and activist Gcina Mhlophe.


















Sometimes When It Rains by Gcina Mhlophe


Sometimes when it rains
I smile to myself
And think of times when as a child
I’d sit by myself
And wonder why people need clothes

Sometimes when it rains
I think of times
When I’d run into the rain
Shouting ‘Nkce—nkce mlanjana
When will I grow
I’ll grow up tomorrow

Sometimes when it rains
I think of times
When I watched goats
Running so fast from the rain
While sheep seemed to enjoy it

Sometimes when it rains
I think of times
When we had to undress
Carry the small bundles of uniforms and books
On our heads
And cross the river after school

Sometimes when it rains
I remember times
When it would rain hard for hours
And fill our drum
So we didn’t have to fetch water
From the river for a day or two

Sometimes when it rains
Rains for many hours without break
I think of people
Who have nowhere to go
No home of their own
And food to eat
Only rain water to drink

Sometimes when it rains
Rains for days without break
I think of mothers
Who give birth in squatter camps
Under plastic shelters
At the mercy of cold angry winds

Sometimes when it rains
I think of ‘illegal’ job seekers
In big cities
Dodging police vans in the rain
Hoping for darkness to come
So they can find some wet corner to hide in

Sometimes when it rains
Rains so hard hail joins in
I think of life prisoners
In all the jails of the world
And wonder if they still love
To see the rainbow at the end of the rain

Sometimes when it rains
With hail stones biting the grass
I can’t help thinking they look like teeth
Many teeth of smiling friends
Then I wish that everyone else
Had something to smile about


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