Maverick Life


‘The Miracle of the One Thing’: A poem by Mbali Vilakazi

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‘The Miracle Of The One Thing’, which was written in December 2020 by poet, performer and speaker Mbali Vilakazi, reminds us of the power of reconnecting and togetherness.

Might we build our altars together.

Might we bring our roses, our jasmine and marigolds.

This is our blood
Our broken dreams
Our bones

Our water                         Our spirit            
                        Our drums                        Our trouble

Our collective body.

Might we grieve together?

Might we repeat ourselves into a circle 

Like before                                                   Before each other
                                                                            Before the flame

Might we listen to the elders,
Might we remember them
The wisdom that is our inheritance:

We were never meant to grieve alone.

Might we meet here then, where things leave you?

Even this, our darkness, is sacred
All of our fear lined with stones
This too is our song
Washing our hand of the dust
Of graveyards –

Fresh cut aloe in basins

Sorghum and ceremony

Our window smeared with ash                                              

                                                          The hidden light in all the

This gift, the wound you did not want.

What are you mourning?

The life you expected to live?


Put it down.

And we will witness you.

The Khoisan people of the Kalahari say, “When one of us is ill, all of us are ill.”

This is our blood
Our broken dreams
Our bones

Our collective body.

All of us are ill. 

Might we build our altars together then?

Our sorrow held in compassion and community.

This pain which is the same.

These are our drums.

Our spirit.

Might we grieve together then?

The miracle of the one thing. DM/ ML

Mbali Vilakazi is an award-winning South African poet, producer and creative strategist. She has worked with many organisations including the United Nations Children’s Fund, The British Council and the Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. She was the resident poet on the UNFCCC COP 17 Climate Train.


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