Abandoned Shoes

He wears them once. In good shape he leaves them for future generations to use. Like a Cinderella story, many try in vain. Lined around the ankles some manage to use, only for a while. Padding no good, slippage persists. Clumsy walk causes a loud discord of discourse —shoes too big to fit.

Carving epitaphs
greatness clothed in vigilance
—the price of freedom

for Poets United

Nelson Mandela Museum at Qunu, Mthatha

note: The poem is in honour of Nelson Mandela International Day.


  1. No one can learn to walk their path in the shoes of another, regardless of how magnificent said shoes might be. We can learn lessons from their steps, we can look for similar shoes to help us closer to a place of wonder and grace, but… they always have to be our shoes–we have to work for them, bleed for them, until they walk in the world our feet are standing on.

  2. No-one will fit in his shoes but there will be others who will follow barefoot or shod that will also live, fight and die for their own people and for the whole world.

  3. I love the Cinderella slipper brought together with shoes that are too big!. Clumsy, ha! Vigilance, indeed. I truly enjoyed your poem.

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