7 May 2013

This is the sea, a poem by Rustum Kozain

(After a photograph by Victor Dlamini)

There is that sea, deep sometimes
as the heart at dusk,
the shine on its face soon to fade.
There is that caravel drifting in
and all it brings: a load of good
and the bad unreckoned by the quartermaster.
The homing birds that come or go.
The sun that’s set,
now only a shade smudged by fog.
From empty rooms, frosting windows
no one saw
its dying spectacle.
There is something of this sea,
its cold and darkening deep
in the human heart, in me, that lies unfathomed,
beyond all sounding,
that doesn’t know its own dark treachery.

Rustum Kozain

"In Rustum Kozain's new collection this leading South African poet raises his own bar way above ordinary expectations.

Kozain has intentionally retained connections with his early work while simultaneously introducing a group of poems that indicate the promise of work still to come. His voice has strengthened and has a new confidence making the poems (paradoxically) lighter without losing their characteristic trademark seriousness. This is a thoughtful, pitch-perfect collection that resonates with the reader long after the last poem is read.

His 2005 debut collection This Carting Life was widely acclaimed for its gravitas and vigour. With poems such as “Kingdom of rain” and “Talking jazz” Kozain firmly established himself as a brilliant new poet in the South African constellation.

Several of his poems have been anthologized and, most importantly, read and discussed. Kozain won both the Ingrid Jonker Prize (2006) and the Olive Schreiner Prize (2007) for This Carting Life.

'He is a poet to watch, to read and enjoy.' Gus Ferguson"
—from Kwela

1. Groundwork
2. This Carting Life

More poems online:
1. Stars of Stone
2. Reading Heaney's 'Nerthus'
3. Kingdom of Rain II


Nana Fredua-Agyeman said...

An interesting poem. Thanks for sharing it.

Rethabile said...


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