Black Mamba sleeps
With a killer bite
Poison tongued intentions
Spitting his spite
Lingering death amusement
Fun in ferocious fear
On the very edge of hell
You take him away from here
To the lies and the spit
The slaps and clenching fists
To the whips and scourging lashes
To the thorns and angry twists
The hammer crash on flesh and bone
The shrieks of fury and pain
The breather into suffocation
Then the harrowing agony again
You stand and meet his stare
Peer love into his silence
Treat him with precious respect
In an even more violent violence
None survive this merciless place
Yet you walk away somehow
Black mamba looks up at you and smiles
“Baba Comrie, I’m sleeping now…
Baba Comrie, I’m sleeping now!”
Listening to the stories of a Missionary and PJ Harvey’s record To Bring You My Love (particularly Long Snake Moan) influenced this poetic piece back in 1995.
The poem is a blending of two of the stories of a family friend Roy Comrie who has spent most of his life doing radically Christ like things in Africa, particularly his homeland of Zimbabwe.
Roy was bitten by a Black Mamba and not many survive that. His Trazan like wisdom and speed of thought was one of the reasons he did. God’s grace the over riding one, he would add.
Roy, tells another story of picking up a hitchhiker, just after the Rhodesian war. The man had a big gun which he set between his legs and started the journey as an uneasy passenger. Many would have been phased by such a confrontation but Roy sneaked into the guys life, by speaking his language and drawing him in.
The man had told Roy that hadn’t slept for months as a realist of what he seen and done during the war. Realising that this was the most violent man he had ever met Roy decided to take him to the most violent place there had ever been. Over decades Christians have been quick to denounce X rated movies, forgetting that the Christian faith is built around an X rated scene. Roy shared the story of Jesus’ cross.
When they arrived in Harare the man refused to get out of the car until Roy introduced him to Jesus. A week later they met at an arranged place. Roy says the man was running down the road towards him shouting, “Baba Comrie I am sleeping now!” Baba is the word for a dear friend. The man’s life had been turned around.
Listening to Long Snake Moan, my head tried to play with the snake and the soldier, seeking tough PJ Harvey guitar riff language.
I am thrilled that Roy now wants to use the poem in a book about his life, The Unmistakeable Hand Of God, being published soon!