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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 1, March 2014

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Matthew Caretti
Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, USA


From the Quarry

He becomes the republic's first black president. I move to Shatale. The township's first white resident, volunteer from abroad.

imprisoned
twenty-seven years
his jailers
even reconciled
to the truth he found

Each morning seven miles to my village school. A short amble by comparison. He had initiated long before near mountains just like these—"Now I'm a man!" without flinching. Soon honed through struggle, he would be called Spear of the Nation. Piercing apartheid's shield, his ubuntu a new beginning.

ever fearless
he now breathes easy
infinity's air
Xhosa patriarch
out of the quarry

Tutu and Graça Machel. Obama, Angelou and Oprah feel the loss. Theirs. Ours. Mine, too.

far away
twenty-one guns sound
Qunu's son
laid finally to rest
his long walk complete


Author's Notes:

Ubuntu: a Bantu term literally translated as "humanness" but best exemplified by the saying "People are people through other people."

Xhosa: the South African cultural group, or tribe, to which Nelson Mandela belongs.

Qunu: the small rural village in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province where Nelson Mandela grew up and was buried after his passing in December 2013.

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