We cattle boys

This poem tells the story of young boys who work herding cattle from a young age to support their families.

By Gabrielle White - Peace Corps Volunteer, Zambia (2014 –2016)

We cattle boys
Our feet naked, thick with days
Weeks
Months
Turning to years on these lands
We roam
The keepers
The entrusted
We cattle boys
Push along, keep inline
Armed: sling shot, branch
Maize still warm in pockets
As the sun rises
Hangs hot
Sets
We cattle boys
Navigators of fields
Streams
Us knowers of all the places ours
Tradition as sure as the steps we take
And the animals that graze
Our existence a testament to our grandfathers
Us cattle boys
Keepers of the time
Walking the lands for generations
Us cattle boys
Our stories told by laughs
By lore
Us cattle boys never lost
Always wandering
Us sons of Zambia
Us cattle boys
Inheritors of the Earth

This poem was selected as a finalist in the Volunteer category for the 2015 Peace Corps Poetry Contest. It was selected from more than 1,000 submissions, representing over 50 years of Peace Corps service in more than 100 countries.


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