Another man died … yesterday at peace.
Not the nameless soldier who died unknown.
Far from that, far from that in his release.
Time now that this rock becomes a corner stone;
an anchored turning-point that conquers doubt.
Time now that this voice, with its mellow twist,
is so preserved as a whispering shout
that resonates upon a rising fist:
What one man can endure … so can it be.
What one man can forgive … so too can we.
What one man encouraged … so can it be.
What one man imagined … so too can we.
. Now the corner stone … the rock of ages,
. Nelson Mandela … strong and courageous.
© Tim Grace, 8 December 2013
To the reader: Many things to many people; always an activist. Throughout Nelson Mandela’s long life he was a motivating energy; a source of inspiration to those who wanted to realise a dream. Being the personification of ‘we shall overcome’ meant his impact on social-order was breathtaking. His demanding relationship with illegitimate authorities and corrupt systems provides the key to his strength of character which ever sought the dignity of freedom and justice for all.
To the poet: One of a few biographical sonnets written around this time. Mostly, a singular contrast to the previous sonnet honouring the unknown soldier as a collective metaphor. The finished product bears the hallmarks of a frustrating editing process that almost worked; not completely convincing in the end. There are elements that I like: “the mellow twist … upon a rising fist” suggests a gentle strength without reference to aggression or untrammelled anger.