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Picture 10641400, photograph by Graeme Williams, 1990, image copyright Mary Evans / Africa Media Online

Prisoner 46664 on Robben Island
by Amy Barry

 

for Mandela

 

 

I had a chance to return

to where I had spent

eighteen years    in captivity,

a 7-by-9-foot room,

I could walk

the length of my cell

in three paces.

 

Where I had missed from those I loved;

births and funerals,

weddings and anniversaries —

 

Voices overlapped,

but thoughts ran like a clear stream

over rough sediment,

 

and I often ask,

What more can you do?

1234But pray and hope,

1234pray and hope.

 

Here, I recalled a warden’s first words,

“This is where you will die.”

 

 

© Amy Barry

Picture 10641400, photograph by Graeme Williams, 1990, image copyright Mary Evans / Africa Media Online

 

 

Amy Barry writes poems and short stories. She is published in anthologies, journals, press and e-zines globally, including Southword, The Blue Nib, Sunday Tribune, Paris Lit Up and Live Encounters. Her poems have been translated into many languages including Italian, Turkish, Spanish, Irish, Azerbaijani, French, Romanian and Persian. She has been featured on radio and TV in Italy, Canada, Australia, UK and Ireland. Her poems have been shortlisted, longlisted, highly commended, won local and international awards, and been nominated for the Pushcart 2021 Poetry Prize. Amy has performed her work in Ireland and internationally. She is an honorary member of the Neruda Association, Italy, and founder of Global Writers. Amy loves to travel: trips to Mumbai, Paris, Beijing, Falkenberg, Strasbourg and Bali have all infused her work.

 

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