The Song-Maker

Alone in the hot sun,
On the hot sand in the sun,
Alone at the edge of the kraal,
In the dust of the dance-ground
Near the raised tobacco patch; —
The women have gone to the fields,
The children have gone to play,
And the blind Maker of Songs
Sits here, alone, all day.

The dogs sniff'd him and went.
The kraal-rats peer and go,
So very still he sits
Day long, and moon to moon,
His hands slack on the sand; —
And he was just the same,
This maker of tribal songs,
Before the White Men came.

His was the song that woke
The war that brought their power;
The impi went with song —
Came back with song by night,
So many years ago,
With plunder every one;
Leaving among the dead,
Ganero, his only son.

And here, all day, he sits,
On the hot sand in the sun;
The children wonder if he sleeps,
And the flies think him dead,
The dogs smell him and go; —
But to him is bare the lore
Of the Threshing and the Dancing Songs,
And the Chant that leads to War.
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