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ALAN PATON

The discardment

We gave her a discarment
A trifle, a thing no longer to be worn,
Its purpose served, its life done.
She put it on with exclamations,
Her eyes shone, she called and cried,
The great bulk of her pirouetted
She danced and mimed, sang snatches of a song.
she called out blessings on her native tongue
She called out to her fellow-servants
The the strangers and passers-by
To all the continent of Africa
To see this wonder, to participate
In this intolerable joy.
And so for nothing
Is purchased loyalty and trust
And the unquestioning obedience
Of the earth's most rare simplicity.
So for nothing
The destruction of a world.

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