Untitled poem from a South African writer in exile

Somehow we survive and tenderness, frustrated, does not wither. Investigating searchlights rake our naked unprotected contours;

over our heads the monolithic decalogue of fascist prohibition glowers and teeters for a catastrophic fall;

boots club the peeling door.

But somehow we survive severance, deprivation, loss.

Patrols uncoil along the asphalt dark hissing their menace to our lives,

most cruel, all our land is scarred with terror, rendered unlovely and unlovable; sundered are we and all our passionate surrender but somehow tenderness survives.

From ``A Simple Lust: Collected Poems of South African Jail and Exile,'' by Dennis Brutus. Heinemann Educational Books Ltd. Reprinted by permission.

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