Poetry, Tale Africa

The Wandering Boy

By Fungai Chigumbura, Zimbabwe


A boy I was

A man I wanted to be

Or maybe more than a man

But what is more than a man, I wondered


So I would be a man.


A man I was

And glory was it to me

The rage, the honor, the deceit, the strength

All were within me and were me

But then I saw, someday

Something greater than a man

Everyone stared at it, golden and polished and aloof

I realized, in moments of awe

That I knew what was greater than man

So it was that I settled to be a king


A king I was

Shiny, saluted and adored

All in the world was mine

And that which was not, still was mine

No higher could I rise, thought I

Until on a day of my celebration, they told me

“Kings must serve the gods, lest their crowns be turned to thorns and their gold to ash”

This is what a king must serve, I now knew

And that is what I must be, I now resolved


A god I was

Venerated, cheered, ascribed

The world and its kings were mine

Men knelt, women wept, children sang for me

I had become this, and nothing greater could I be

Then I saw from the skies

That my heart, my soul, my existence were not in my hands

They were governed by he who led the faith

The priests who guided my flocks were my guardians and my truest enemy

If they so wished, mine would be an existence forgotten

For there were many other gods besides me

And it was the priest’s whim where the rivers of worship flowed

I could be a god no longer

For true power was in the priest’s hands and his tongue

I would have true power


A priest I was

Respected, obeyed, elevated

The words of the holy books were mine to give and mine to make

Gods were and were not upon my desires

As I said it, so the believers would hold it

But I did not speak with my own voice

For in the power of the holy man, lay the seed of beauty which gave him life

The woman in the priest’s life, his cherished fruit

She was his true master


A woman I was

Beloved, endowed, genesis

The world knew of me, but knew little about me

I walked the lands, made to be impressed

I walked the lands, twisted to be conquered

But I held my power over the priest

His words were from my bosom, his lessons from my love

And through him I touched the masses, but never was he my heart’s content

For the truth of my existence was in the treasure I held in my arms

That little suckling, tiny, fleshy, my own

My child, my little boy was the candle whose light could make a thousand suns jealous

The truth of the power was in that woman’s child

So it was that I would be that child

A boy I am.

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