The uniformed steps measured, prepared, rehearsed
Unlike our hearts, the world …

The coffin disappointingly small,
Perhaps rightfully so, your life and laughter fill the globe.

You knew the value of loneliness, whose quiet body was never left,
since that Stygian night.

The Oryx stutters, the voices roar, as the sun fades away. Sadder, but our flag seems brighter, our nation taller, as we all were, on that golden day in May.

Strangely, our President smaller, diming,
and we all choke our tears away.

Life and laughter have ceased to hold office,
In your superlative frame,

Heading for Qunu, we ever so unprepared,
Know you return was wished for, inevitable.

The elders chant softly, advising you who came,
and why, as if you did not know, comforting and guiding us, in this our darkest day.

Large, larger, the skyline closer, the firmament nearer, familiar faces defined – connected, fellow South Africans, children of the world.

A humble aircraft, a huge procession, 95 years too short, carrying a powerful box of infinite proportion –draped, revered, still and small.

The green hills of AbaThembu, the mighty roar of Umgungundlovu,
insignificant, pale, spent, like death row and Robben-island.

Where will they lay you, who can cover you,
what cave dare to hold you, what successor can ever honour you?

The silence, the tears out of place – surreal, small,
like everything around you.

You have filled our hearts and minds, and everything in between
Your bright smile and colossal heart, surpassed only by our collective pride.

Left with the pain, the joy of knowing you, a people, now stronger and better,
No nation will match us, if only you could stay!