The Barefoot Don

A Tribute to Manfred Max Neef

He walks the mountains, plains and fields
At home with forests, wolves and birds
He’s naked in the power he wields:
The sword of truth; the axe of words

He knows the chill of foreign lands
And sighs the loss of good friends passed
He feels the warmth of welcome hands
And beams the joy of love that lasts

He’s felt the ire of dictators
And known the grace of humble kings
He’s filled up books and newspapers
And given gifts of voice and wings

He warns of theories, now unmasked
That leave the earth and people cursed
He points the way – we all are tasked
With putting needs and nature first

He says to see, just close your eyes
To hear, be still and feel your heart
Real changes always wear disguise
And grassroots play a hidden part

Then in the quiet hours between
He listens to the tides of Brahms
Or pens and plays a piece he’s dreamed
Or rests within his lover’s arms

He’s just a barefoot ‘household’ don
Whose feet have trod the sacred round
He counts success by hearts he’s won
And handshakes from the underground


Dear Manfred, if you read this ode
You’ll know the gratitude I feel
For our chance meeting on the road
And spokes of friendship on life’s wheel

Wayne Visser © 2017


Life in Transit: Favourite Travel & Tribute Poems

This creative collection, now in its 2nd edition, brings together travel and tribute poems by Wayne Visser. The anthology pays tribute to the likes of Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Barack Obama, Antoni Gaudí & Leonardo da Vinci, and reflects on travels ranging from China and South Africa to Ecuador and Russia. Life is lived in the in-between / In transit / Between coming and going / Between staying and moving on / Between here and there / And what we call home / What we call settled or contented / Is merely a resting place / A station for refuelling / A nexus for reconnecting / A junction for changing direction. Buy the paper book / Buy the e-book.