for Jude Cowan

… and, finally, reports just in
suggest Angola may have fallen
through an Angola-shaped hole
in the news, and with it all hope
of making its mineral wealth pay;
of raising the portion of millions
who live on less than $2 a day;
of holding to account the incumbent MPLA.
While Angola’s cotton, coffee and cocoa
may well continue, for all we know,
to be hand-picked by forced labour
it is, we believe, now invisibly so
in that landmine-pocked limbo
on the dark side of the news.
It’s possible still that Angola
transforms carbon into coal,
into diamonds harder
than the bloodshot stare
of its child-soldier veterans;
and that (by a similar alchemy)
the archetypal Angolan woman
is now less warrior-queen Nzinga
more child-bride widow of UNITA.
Is it still news? our correspondent asks,
if Angola disappears
and nobody hears?

David Briggs
Montage: Claire Palmer



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