Magazine August 16, 2010, Issue


Performers dance during the opening ceremony of the 2010 World Cup at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, June 11, 2010. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

Choreographed by Thandumzi Moyakhe,
performed by Nqaba Mafilika and Bathembu
Myira, Johannesburg, South Africa

They dance there with outrageous zest,
Kneeling and swaying without rest,
White crosses painted on their chests.

Hour after hour I see them falling,
Rolling and riotously crawling,
Uproariously reaching, sprawling.

They fill their mouths with stolen light.
See how their closed eyes gorge on sight
So vast, yet in the world so slight;

How they are crucified who pray,
And how they dance, tomorrow and today,
In Africa, which is so far away.

Sarah Ruden’s most recent books are the extensively revised second edition of her Aeneid translation and her new translation of the Gospels.

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