In our series of letters from African journalists, film-maker and columnist Farai Sevenzo reflects on the death of her father

on

My eyes were frozen on the man by the fire. His brown hair stood up like fire-dipped
flamingo feathers. His gaze was piercing yet fearful. I could feel the cold
through my skin now, but my core had no resistance to my icy heart. My feet
tumbled on a path of death beneath the surface of my life. I knew I was a
man, not some hero who would bring men to their knees with his words, who could
make them whole by his deeds. These men in the fire were made of steel, their
words to me would ring of ice as my breath grew thin. There has been nothing
before this moment to prove how far I had been from my destiny, it had always
been clear to me that I had the power to see the whole and make my own changes.

A man I had been told by my father was my friend, and he was a man I had
loved, he had never taken a lover, never asked about my mother. His only sin
was a love of poetry, and he had been the only one who had accepted my love and
was always there if I needed him. How could I possibly compare to him in any
way? I loved poetry. I could give nothing to the world. I was alone and made
no friends. I was happy to be alone, I was happy in my life, the same as what
my father told me he was, and the same as what he believed, which was he would
never go against his word.

I will not lie. Some day I may want to know the truth, and in my heart I will
say what I have kept to myself. There will be no excuses and there will be no
excuses. The cold alone will not convince me of my mistake. My life is mine,
the cold will not stop me. I will not be saved by the cold alone, I will be
saved by love. I will have to love to find the love inside myself. I know now
I have never felt what it is like to feel another person’s heart beating in
your chest, the feeling that your entire life was changing while theirs was
being changed, everything to them is nothing compared to what you must give to
them. Every ounce of warmth and love we give each other is worth more than any
gold in the world. I have never known what love really was; I know only what
love was to me. Love was never there, I knew of love and never felt it.

My eyes were frozen on the fire, my gaze was on this man, I knew he was lost
to me, a man I knew I never would be. My eyes were frozen on the fire, my gaze
was back on the man, who I would never know. I was not my father’s son, nor
did my father give a damn about me. I was not my father’s son, nor did I live
only for him and for my father.

The cold made a fist within my head, I was not my father’s son, yet I was
alive. I, the son of someone, the son of my father, had no desire for my own sake.

This man was different though. He had fallen in love with a poet. He had
fallen in love with his words, the words he wrote, the poetry he created. He
and his beloved poet must have come to be one. I could not separate one from
the other. I had not fallen in love with the poet, but I had fallen in love
with him, and he had fallen in love with me. He was my lover, as I was his, as
we were the same.

It wasn’t until this night of all nights, when I had my way with him in the dark
that the cold had to be confronted, as the cold wanted to crush me. It was not
a matter of desire, I had fallen in love in a way that I knew I could never
fall in love with another man. I was not a man who needed an enduring love to
serve me, a love that could survive the cold, the cold would have to be
confronted.

The poet spoke of love, of poetry, of happiness. He had the words to make it
all real, to bring the world into the world of pure euphoria. He had a way of
making words, of making poetry come alive, and if we loved the poetry, then
we would have the world.

The cold had fallen now in earnest, for the cold wanted to bring my life down
with it, to bring my joy to an end. I had never felt this cold before, and in
the moment the cold crushed me, it told me why I was alive. It told me that
the cold had to be confronted.

I had to go on. That is what I had to do, that in this cold, I had to go on. I
had to find life, a new life. I had to give life to the cold.

One thing the cold had told me through my tears, it took my joy away from me,
and I didn’t understand why. I had to keep going, this was the only way I could
live. Not love, not the poetry, not the joy, but this. This.

The cold was now the centre of my life; it knew my soul and it knew my soul
would not be saved by the cold alone. The cold of the grave was too cold, the
cold of the dark too cold.

The poet spoke, of happiness, of the world, of a new world, the world he
created, a world that was worth living in. A world that was worthy of living in,
a world that was the world worth living in. A world worth living in.

The cold was now the centre of my life; it knew my soul and it knew my soul
would not be saved by the cold alone. The cold of the grave was too cold, the
cold of the dark too cold.

I was the cold. I was the cold of the grave.

The poet spoke to me, of poetry, of the world, of the world he created, a world
that was worth living in.

The cold was now the centre of my life; it knew my soul and it knew my soul
would not be saved by the cold alone. The cold of the grave was too cold, the
cold of the dark too cold.

I was the cold. I was the cold of the grave.

The poet spoke to me, of poetry, of the world, of the world he created, a world
that was worth living in.

Share this
Tags

Must-read

Tommy’s mission was to escape from the waking world

He needed to figure out a way to get back to his own body, so that he could complete his mission without having to go through the motions of a waking life. There was...

Beth stood atop the headland, watching the waves crash gently onto the ocean, feeling suddenly as if she was being pulled away from herself,...

Yet as she gazed out into an ocean that seemed to beckon as an unknown singer sang a song of longing, Beth felt suddenly as if she had been the one to place the...

The green eyes looked at Danielle, and then at the knight

“Sorry,” Danielle said, as she saw the last of the needles float out of sight, and the wall in front of the knight collapsed. She looked back down at the green eyes. “Is it...

Recent articles

More like this