Corrupt Legislation, painting by Elihu Vedder / public domain

“. . . i am the stone you left for the dead
i am the tree bark oozing with the blood of age
i am the riverbed flowing with the mucus of age . . . “
Mbizo Chirasha, Anthem of the Black Poet

My breasts are dry of milk in the climate of this heat
My earth ejaculates platinum and uranium
anus of my rock puff pure gas and crude oil
The clay of my heart binds together the dust of my dreams
Forests of my mind sagging with coco beans and coconuts

I am tired of bullet and paparazzi gossip
I am a country eating peanut and bananas
I am the flower of want, whose bloom was pruned by madness,
Whose holy nectar was imbibed by mad drunkards?
I am a nightmare, poets and prophets bring back my wildness

© Mbizo Chirasha


Much thanks to Mbizo Chirasha for sponsoring this week’s writing prompt.  Mbizo says, “We remain resilient in the quest for justice, freedom of expression, and upholding of human rights through Literary Activism and Artivism. ALUTA CONTINUA!”

THEME: We ask this week for poems written in response to Zimbabwean Poet in Exile.  This is to help us create awareness of the plight of our fellow poets like Mbizo and other dissident writers and artists who are actively fighting authoritarianism, despotism, and kleptocracy. We very much appreciate your participation in this week’s unusual and important prompt and look forward to reading what you write.

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose


Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, November 11 by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.

Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry.  Email for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

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Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton


  1. In Response to Mbizo Chirasha Freedom Poetry

    For I sang the freedom song for years
    in vain, in pain,
    One day I will return
    O my homeland ,my heaven, land of
    pure peace,

    I am the native child, born in captivity
    my feet never touched my beloved soil
    I breathed but for a while in mother’s
    In sleep, led away, far away, to refuge
    One day I will return, I sang my song-

    It is a nightmare
    futile dream of the happy return
    my earth oozes martyrs’ blood spills
    resounds with raped women’s screams
    burns with saffron spreads in wide fields
    weeps with weeping willows in the streams
    One day I will return, and I sang my song,
    in vain, in pain

    I am the houseboat abandoned
    I am the ‘shikara’ floating,empty
    I am the moaning water of Dal
    I am the aroma of sweet apples
    I am the snow of mountain tops
    I am the color of pansies and lotus
    I am the music of the ‘rubaab’
    I am the child of a captive state

    One day I will return I sang my song
    in vain, in pain

    But now my heart is silent,my voice
    stilled, my feet in fetters, my home
    locked, my road blocked, guarded
    I am tired of pellets bullets and gas,

    I am cold like a stone, no ‘Kangarri’
    I carry , no greens or beans I cook
    I am but a listed item, a numberless
    number, a lost identity, snatched
    wrenched annexed conquered

    My song of freedom rings aloud
    but can anyone hear? Will anyone
    come? Will anyone cry for me? Or
    my land, to set free? Perhaps one day,

    if the music sails on, reaches the stars
    Showers the rain which pours free
    and washes away the mud of captivity
    breaks the chains lifts the barriers and
    Come Your land is yours, gone is the
    enemy- but I woke up again, in pain
    in vain,
    I hear the fearful scream-heavy boots
    shaking the soil, tearing up roots
    I do not wish to sing, but pray, hope
    It is all a dream-
    In vain I sing, in pain I try to-sleep

    Liked by 1 person

  2. To The Defenders of Freedom

    When peaceful protest fails
    and protesters are put in jails
    then forces must stand
    bravely to defend the land-

    In attack
    outnumbered ten to one
    crawled under enemy tank
    martyred to glory, sank in
    body, blood in native sand

    In loyalty
    you saved the land
    blasting enemy tanks
    with bravery supreme
    grenades in hands

    In honor
    you remain for ever you live
    those who die a life they give
    and repel the enemy aggressive.

    And now I say and know
    battles have been fought
    public protests prevail
    as Freedom must be saved
    at all cost-

    or else, all is forever lost

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Respected Jamie Ji

    In Freedom

    In Freedom There is Fear
    When a close and dear
    one, is no more,

    In Freedom there is blood
    When all you made in life
    Is washed away in flood;

    In freedom there is sacrifice
    When all you claim and own
    Is taken away without a price;

    In freedom there is liberty
    For many just a statue
    fights, no rights, nor equality;

    In Freedom there are letters
    promises and false hopes
    soon you are in iron fetters;

    In Freedom I was born
    I never saw my land
    I long for its beauty
    In dewdrops shining
    In the morn;

    In Freedom there is a gift
    treasure not and you find
    it floating by and adrift;

    In Freedom there is ease
    calm and harmony, hold
    it strong for eternal peace

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think the nightmare referred to is Africa under the imposition of the international corporate monster, so yes you are right, Mike. In the West we can’t help but be part of that even though some of us – you and me and others – deplore it.


  4. “The Emperor’s New Changes”
    (Raanana, September 11, 2016)

    A hundred thousand poets for change
    That’s us.
    That’s what we called ourselves last year
    And the year before.
    So they’ve stopped lynching the poets in Arabia?
    They’ve stopped stoning the raped women in Kabul?
    What about the mutilation of genitals of young girls?
    So they’ve stopped burning down Black churches in Bama?
    Stopped desecrating the lands of our Sioux brothers?
    How about the carbon they’ve dumped in the atmosphere?
    Did they stop that?
    Do they believe now the earth is too warm to live on?
    Are philosophers kings yet?
    Are kings philosophers?
    I don’t mean to be cynical
    But it doesn’t seem like much has changed since last year.
    We’ve read a few poems,
    That’s all.
    Come to think of it,
    Have we really changed,
    Except for getting a year older?
    If that’s change
    Then we better change change
    So that it’s palpable
    So that we can feed people with it
    So that people can walk tall from it
    So that people can protect themselves with it
    So that people can make love to it
    Until change is done changing
    And the world is all the Republic we need.

    (c) Mike Stone

    Liked by 3 people

  5. “Birdsong”

    A small bird landed on the branch of an old tree
    Where other loudly chirping birds were perched.
    The other birds on this branch twittered critically
    And decided she was not one of them.

    If you want to perch on our branch, they said to her,
    You’ll have to cut off your right wing like all of us
    And the little bird saw that the other birds
    Had only their left wings. But how do you fly, she asked.

    One of the birds responded by jumping off the branch,
    Flapping his left wing and spiraling downward
    Until he crashed beak first into a rock.
    To each bird, according to its needs, the other birds tweeted.

    The little bird flew to another branch on the old tree.

    If you want to perch on our branch, they said to her,
    You’ll have to cut off your left wing like all of us
    And the little bird saw that the other birds
    Had only their right wings. But how do you fly, she asked.

    One of the birds responded by jumping off the branch,
    Flapping his right wing and spiraling downward
    Until he crashed beak first into the hard tree root.
    To each bird, according to its capabilities, the other birds chirped.

    The little bird flew to another branch on the old tree.

    If you want to perch on our branch, they said to her,
    You’ll have to cut off both your wings like all of us
    And the little bird saw that the other birds
    Had no wings. But how do you fly, she asked.

    One of the birds responded by jumping off the branch,
    But having nothing to flap, plummeted down
    Until he crashed beak first into the hard ground.
    We are neither left nor right, the other birds sang.

    The little bird flew to another tree
    And sang a two-wing song for you and me.

    November 10, 2019

    (c) Mike Stone

    Liked by 3 people

  6. “What Use Is Beauty?”

    What use is beauty
    If it merely masks an inner ugliness,
    If it just confuses us
    Like too much wine
    Making us think we’re gods?
    What good is truth
    If falsehood is far more useful
    For getting what you need or want
    And easier to believe by far
    Besides, who has time for truth?
    What purpose does freedom serve
    If it only starves us
    or makes us lonely?
    Most prefer a bond or two
    To a mindless multitude.
    What’s the point of words
    If they are not the right words,
    The precise ones that we think
    Or those that others want to hear?

    October 12, 2019

    (c) Mike Stone

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “Blessed Are the Rich”

    Blessed are the rich
    For they shall inherit the meek
    And enslave them.
    Blessed are the rich
    Who will inherit new worlds to suck dry
    After they have sucked dry our only world.
    Blessed are the rich
    Who make their own blessings
    And the gods to bless them.
    Cursed are the poor
    Who bow down to worship
    The gods of the rich,
    Who count the blessings of the rich
    Who are sucked dry by the rich
    Who are enslaved by the rich.
    Cursed are the poor
    Who bless the curse of meekness
    For their children to inherit.

    September 20, 2019

    (c) Mike Stone

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Hatred”

    And the prophet stood among a few people.
    In the marketplace of ideas, there were many prophets
    But this prophet spoke quietly. He said
    Hatred is not a state of mind
    That one can enter and leave at will;
    It is a road that starts in innocence
    Leading ever downhill
    And ends in unplumbed evil.
    I don’t tell you turn the other cheek
    When struck, as another prophet said,
    But I say don’t answer hatred with hatred.
    Hatred comes from ignorance of others,
    Thinking they are not like us,
    That they don’t love their children
    Or honor their parents
    Or fear for their future as we do.
    Why not answer hatred with hatred?
    Because it creates a circle without exit or break
    And perhaps their hatred comes from
    Honoring their past or fearing their future.
    What should you do?
    When you understand those whom you call “other”
    You will know what to do, and hate
    Will wither like dry tumbleweed in the desert
    Because there is no other,
    There is only us.

    August 20, 2019

    (c) Mike Stone

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “Then as Now”

    The sweet pungency of rose and violets
    Floats on the gentle breezes
    And down the road a ways the church bells toll
    As they did then.

    At the shooting range, you still see bullet holes
    But they buried all the targets in mass graves,
    Not helter-skelter like some graveyards,
    But very orderly as they were then.

    The tall poplar trees surround electric fences,
    They seem inviting, leaves rustling in the breeze,
    A nightmare inside a blonde and blue-eyed dream,
    As it was then.

    They scrub the showers, ovens, and the smokestacks,
    The red brick raw and spotless.
    A pile of shoes stands in silent accusation
    But no one hears, then as now.

    August 2, 2019

    (c) Mike Stone

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Silent, poor, innocent, youth
    They witness democratic loot
    Corruption rise,
    And businessmen fight when
    Economic slowdown
    They are blown into religious fight
    They seek a person with opposite ions
    When their grief rise
    You call me activist, but
    I must also sleep the long night
    Well, activism
    I haven’t wished for it, nor consented to it
    I only love my nation.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. artivist artifice artemis bolt

    artivist artifice artemis bolt
    wring out a dream and give despots a jolt.
    artemis arm&fist activist strike
    shake out a mindset and shore up a dyke.
    artifice artdoesthis anarchist grow
    muralize justice for over and throw.
    antidote anecdote anthemnote strive
    make visitations of souls kept alive.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Jamie,

    Here’s my first response:

    How To Be Corrupt And Be Seen As Honest.

    Here is the syllabus. This will be a tough course.

    Introduction will focus on the psychopathology of hard business and unwavering pursuit of profit.
    We will teach you how to see people as things. Your mother and father will be unrecognisable to you, as will your kids and spouse. They are merely objects to be maneouvred.

    Main course content.

    1. How to steal money from public coffers, whilst supporting charitable causes. How to steal food from babies mouths, how to watch the poorer become poorer.
    2. How to store stolen money in off shore accounts, defended by laws not available in your home country.
    3. How to employ PR to defend your reputation, white wash your actions.

    Good luck on the course.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. My first….

    :: exiles ::

    i heard on the radio.

    they decided to walk.

    he asked her what she had..

    nothing she said, nothing.

    money? nothing, nothing,
    nothing. nothing.nothing.

    nothing left except my girls.

    i have not lost them, we hold hands,
    hold hands, hold hands.

    we have nothing.nothing. nothing left.

    they decided to walk.holding hands,

    Liked by 1 person

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