Come to me: I am strange.

My skin is like a drowned man’s, but my hair

Like some wild animal’s from the hills.

I wear a hat.

I am important: other carry

My food, my bed, my tools, the thing I watch

Speaking hard words and stroking it

Come to me: I am strange.


Come to me, for I threaten:

I climbed the river to this point

To turn and go right back again

I kill the birds but do not eat them

I kill the men, forget and leave them

Come to me, for I threaten.


Come to me, I am rich.

In bags my men have colours and shapes

You never saw, but will see more

I was asleep, you saw me wake

Come to me, I am rich and strange.


I had in mind a European explorer in Africa seen from the Africans’ point of view plus hindsight.


By the way: if you’re interested in humour, satire or serious discussion, my other blog ( has postings on Blogging in the Dark, the Great Bastard Reintroduction Programme (based on the reintroduction of the bird the Great Bustard to England), why being customer-centred is a bad idea and a satirical series, the Odanglesex Chronicles.


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  1. Conrad returns….

    • Or Casement. However, the Explorer is not necesarily an exploiter himself like Kurtz. He might say he’s in it for the discovery of the unknown. He might even say he’s fascinated by Africa. But his Africa is not the Africa of those who live there, and neither is much like the Africa his actions will lead to. Some explorers had enough imagination to see themselves as they were seen: there’s a passage in which Livingstone explaines how Europeans seemed to the Africans (I just remember, “and red hair, hideous,”!

      • Sorry, misremembered slightly. The quote was: “and a red beard, hideous.” Well, I suppose if you’d never seen red hair and were unused to big beards, it could look like the man had been horribly mauled.

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