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Day 18 of NaPoWriMo: “And now for our (as always, optional) prompt, which takes us from 2015 back to the 1700s. After all, it’s the eighteenth of April, which means that today is the 240th anniversary of the midnight ride of Paul Revere! Today, in keeping with the theme of rush and warning, I challenge you to write a poem that involves an urgent journey and an important message.”
While Paul Revere’s all very well –
Indeed, he rode like anything –
Another tale I have to tell,
Of Ndongeni* and Dick King.
The year was eighteen forty two.
In Port Natal the Boers had got
The Brits besieged and in a stew,
With, from all sides, shot after shot.
So Ndongeni horses found;
The two, in darkness that same night,
Swam horses to Bluff’s safer ground,
From where they could keep out of sight.
And then began the epic ride,
Brave Ndongeni, but sixteen,
Rode bareback till no more could bide
The chafing; still, halfway he’d been!
The route along a rugged coast;
Some hundred-twenty rivers crossed;
To pests and predators the host;
But Dick King let no time be lost.
Six hundred miles within ten days
(Some seven less than might be thought)
To Grahamstown, without delays,
The tidings of the plight he brought.
From Grahamstown relief was sent:
In nick of time that help arrived;
The Boers retreated, and this meant,
With no surrender, camp survived.
Now locals have themselves disgraced;
In fits of anti-settler zeal,
The statue to him they’ve defaced –
They find such things have no appeal.
Yet both of Boer and Brit descent
Have celebrated all he did,
And Ndongeni hero call
For his part in the valiant bid.
*Pronounced (with almost inaudible ‘nn’ running into the ‘D’) nDONG-GAIR-(silent ‘R’)-KNEE.
© Colonialist April 2015 (WordPress)
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