Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

I was once a fighter,
A fighter of great prowess,
A fighter of great calibre.
"I am a fighter!" I shouted,
And before I had realised it,
I had won the fight.

My opponents gave way
And surrendered with fear
"You have won," they said,
And grim faced, they left.
Without another glance at me, they saw the fighter,
Carried shoulder high by cheering supporters.

"I am a fighter!" I shouted
But there was nobody to fight,
So I had to relax.

But how can a fighter relax
Except by fighting?
How can a killer repose
Except by killing?
How can a dancer recreate
Except by dancing?
I had to relax too,
I had to repose,
I had to recreate.

"I am a fighter!" I shouted
But my enemies were no longer there,
They had long joined the mocking audience
Looking at me with nobody to fight.

I turned grimly to my supporters
Holding me high in worship:
"I am a fighter!" I declared to them.


* Jwani Mwaikusa (1980: 63-64), 'Summons: Poems from Tanzania', TPH.
* Please send comments to [email protected] or comment online at Pambazuka News.