You Were Here - for Nelson Mandela

You Were Here - for Nelson Mandela

A Poem by Tinasha LaRayé

May this beautiful leader rest in peace.


For Nelson Mandela


We felt you leave us

We felt your presence wrap itself in eternity

You closed your eyes on this side of sunshine

And awakened to light everlasting

You were here

Your heartbeat apart of our universal cadence

Chants of Mandela, Madiba, beloved

Changing the mantra of these world systems

To freedom

You stand in line with the greats

And we stand in line to say goodbye to a warrior

You were here

Your international residue

Evident from it’s glowing hue on faces

In Johannesburg, in Lenasia, in London, In America

In letters and words bursting with pride

In tears on cheeks with twinkles

Oceans of tears for you

Of gratitude

For your presence

Your movement

In our souls

Hitting tides and traveling through currents, ‘cross oceans

To nations to cities to neighborhoods to hearts, worldwide

Not all of your revolution televised

But we eat of its fruit

Your caged dream still alive and well

And feeding our children

Kissing generations on the forehead

Untying humanity and dressing wounds with forgiveness

You were here

And you are gone

And we feel the vacancy

But your face is etched in history

Sown in quilts of change

And fortitude

Painted in memories

Engraved in story books

Woven in African legends

And splashed on headlines

From the first worlds to the third worlds

Your impact sent rhythms like a djembe 

We sing one song of freedom this hour

You did that

Bonded the world with one resilient song in your blood

Changed a people, changed a nation, changed sand to pearls

Shifted paradigms

Erased apartheids and replaced with a unified hope in forgiveness, love and truth

We celebrate you

Salute you

And carry your story on our lips

The obedient hero once in our midst

And the legacy of light you left us as a gift


You were here

You are gone

And we are not empty

No, we are full

We are full

© 2013 Tinasha LaRayé

Author's Note

Tinasha LaRayé
Contributing photo by Brendon Williams

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Added on December 21, 2013
Last Updated on December 21, 2013
Tags: Nelson Mandela, apartheid, South Africa, legend, history, greatness, memories, memorial, honor


Tinasha LaRayé
Tinasha LaRayé


I am because my mother birthed me my father planted me my God created me. Life has unfolded for me in 29 chapters so far with two brothers a smile and a few good memories to show for it. I am because .. more..