About the Author

Peter Midgley

Peter Midgley is an independent scholar, writer, and editor. He is the author twelve books for children and adults, including three volumes of poetry. His latest book of poetry, let us not think of them as barbarians, was shortlisted for the Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry.


Books by this Author
Counting Teeth

Counting Teeth

A Namibian Story
also available: Paperback
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Banie’s demeanour changes. "Well, that's different, then. That's bloedsake — blood matters. It's in your blood. You have to go. Actually, it's quite nice to see them march all dressed up in their finery. Ja, just there by the swimming pool there's a bunch of old Herero graves. They're probably headed for them. You know, those people and their ancestors."

"Ja, it's Maharero's grave, isn't it?" I gently hint at the fact that the march commemorates the death of Samuel Maharero, the leader of the Ovaherero at the time of the genocide.

"Ja-nee," Banie reaffirms, "Dis bloedsake vir hulle. It’s about blood for them. People have to follow their blood. Now, where did you say you lived now?"

"In Canada."

"Bloody awful place," he says. "Cold and dark. We have a geologist from Canada here and he went back for a week before he came back to Usakos. Couldn’t stand the place. Where in Canada do you stay?"


"Is that near the Lakes?" He doesn’t wait for me to respond. “I know the geology of the land. There’s stones there." And he starts to talk stone. It’s a language the people here understand.

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let us not think of them as barbarians

you cannot write these things down
you cannot write them down
you cannot write them down
says the singer of praises.
the warm draft of summer
the burn of stone on bare feet
the blood of my rivers--
you cannot write this down
you cannot create calligraphies of pain
says the singer of sorrows.

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The Poetry of Nduka Otiono
by Nduka Otiono
edited by Peter Midgley
afterword by Chris Dunton
tagged : african, canadian
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