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.

Khaya Ronkainen


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

  2. Well written Khaya….”shoes to big to fit”.
    He is one of the greats, humble and forgiving, not easy to fill those shoes!

  3. “Like a Cinderella story, many try in vain. ”

    You got my wholehearted attention with this line

    Much 🌻love

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. A great tribute, Khaya! I like: ‘Clumsy walk causes a loud discord of discourse —shoes too big to fit’ and the excellent haiku.

  7. Yep, no-one can walk in another’s shoes. But each and everyone of us can make a positive contribution to the world, if we try. Much love, Gillena.🌻

  8. True that! We can always learn from the great. Follow on their footsteps. And maybe with our small acts, in our everyday lives, we could make a positive contribution.

Do leave a trace!

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