25th October, 1964
We danced like Celts the day the news of it
kicked the District Commissioner’s fat rump.
Teachers who beat us till we couldn’t sit,
over little things, were, by lunch, so drunk
Mr Chishala shut the school and followed
his staff to a bar where ten shilling notes
came back as loose change, baked groundnuts, hallowed
pitchers of the local brew (a throat song
known as Mosi). They drank to the freedom
our children would inherit, then raised a glass
to Leyland’s Hippo-shaped buses, heaving
with the copper belt’s weary underclass
who, in spite of a new nation, were still dressed
in hunched shoulders, the shame of un-puffed chests.