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  Re-Entering the Shrines of Zomba
 


 

At the gates the guardians have set up cockroaches and

Leeches to protect the shrines from stray iconoclasts

 

The tax-collectors ominously wink at each other

Weighing the genuineness of your travellers cheques

 

The secretaries titillate freely about their bastards

Watching your first syllables. The Gods have deserted

 

These noble shrines. A new religion is born. And when

The sacrificial hour arrives, the custodians first

 

Surrender to the deception of demijohns, then gyrating

To rhythms of mystic drums , they shovel their satchels

 

Of neurosis onto the sacred rocks and bow. They seek no

Advice how to bring back willing dear old  Gods; so the rains

 

Won't come; the rueful lanbs refuse to bleet at the altars

And in the grottos, benumbed virgins put out the candles.

 

Jack Mapanje

Of Chameleons and Gods

(c) 1991

 
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