Twenty-Seven Years

As the West winds blew their fury
the earth let out a cry;
as if to deny expected truth,
it was more than just a sigh.
As if one life had greater value
than all of this; all of the love
that a world full of great lives
could bear to contemplate
the loss of a legend, but
whose wisdom remains immortal …

How many years in a small, small room
with the same view through the bars.
How many years of breaking stone
and a broken view of the stars.

How many years of prayer and pain,
to grow his wings and fly,
like soaring eagle, dancing crane,
over mountains in the sky.

How many years to find his truth,
and reconciliation;
empowering his legacy; to heal
the torment of a nation.

How long did it take to forge his spirit,
imbue his captors’ tears
with the power of his forgiveness
after twenty seven years.

© 2014 John Anstie

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Nelson Mandela’s incarceration lasted for 27 years. At 72 years of age, 8 years older than I am now, he started a new life as leader of his country; and what immense leadership was necessary to hold together a very angry population, some sections of which would have been bent on revenge. His previous life ended in prison at the age of 45, in 1963, for being an anti Apartheid activist. I find the thought of being locked up for 27 years and surviving this, not only physically and mentally, but also able to lead a divided country, almost overwhelmingly daunting and utterly remarkable]

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About PoetJanstie

As a young man, John was fit and sporting. Playing Rugby Union for over twenty years, encouraged in the early days by a school that was run on the same lines as Gordonstoun, giving shape and discipline to a sometimes precarious early life. This fitness was enhanced by working part time jobs in farming, as a leather factory packer and security guard, but probably not helped, for a short time, by selling ice cream! His professional working life was spent as a Metallurgical Engineer, Marketing Manager, Export Sales Manager, Implementation Manager and Managing Director of his own company. Thirty five years spent, apparently in a creative desert, raising a family and pursuing a career, probably enriched his experience, because his renaissance, on retirement, realised a hidden creative talent as a blogger and poet. He also enjoys music, with a piano and a forty-five year old Yamaha FG140 acoustic guitar. He sings bass in three singing groups: as a founding member of a mixed voice chamber choir, Fox Valley Voices; a member of one of the top barbershop choruses in the UK, Hallmark of Harmony (the Sheffield Barbershop Harmony Club) and a mixed barbershop quartet, Needle & Fred. He is also a would be (once upon a time) photographer with drawers full of his own history, and an occasional, but lapsed 'film' maker. In his other life, he doubles as a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Friend and Family man. What he writes is autobiographical and very often pins his colours to the mast. In 2013, he completed an anthology of the poetry (including his own) of an international group of nine poets, who met on Twitter. He produced, edited and steered the product of this work, "Petrichor Rising", to publication by Aquillrelle.
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4 Responses to Twenty-Seven Years

  1. A wonderful essay and tribute and poem, John. And powerful too. One can only wonder at the remarkable thoughts and feelings that, as you say here, ‘forged’ his spirit while he was in that tiny, bare prison cell. Perfect word choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A gorgeous post, John. Madiba certainly was our father, and will long inspire a poet’s heart.

    Liked by 1 person

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