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Creed By Stanley Moss

I salute a word, I stand up and give it my chair,

because this one Zulu word, ubuntu,

holds what English takes seven to say:

“the essential dignity of every human being.”

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I give my hand to ubuntu --

the simple, everyday South African word

for the English mouthful.

I do not know the black Jerusalems of Africa,

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or how to dance its sacred dances,

I cannot play Christ’s two commandments on the drums:

“Love God” and “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

I do not believe the spirits of the dead

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are closer to God than the living,

nor do I take to my heart

the Christlike word ubuntu

that teaches reconciliation

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of murderers, torturers, accomplices,

with victims still living.

It is not blood but ubuntu

that is the manure of freedom.

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From “New and Selected Poems: 2006"

(Seven Stories Press: 248 pp., $18.95)


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