2 September 2013

Tuesday Poem: 'Reading a Poem'

I have come to read a poem
to the forces of revolt gathered here,
nobody knows how this will end,
what troubles one might meet.
In an experiment, they placed in a room
the faces of freedom fighters no longer alive,
and doom said nothing to them
as outside an insistent drum thumped
what some said were ancestral voices.
Of course I told them it could not be
since there was Aggett's face in the front row
looking with interest at the podium,
almost licking his lips with anticipation,
and we know whites don't have balimo like us
who protect them. Still, the stage was set, the wall
of mostly black, definite faces was waiting
for my song. Only dead men know
the error of a voice breaking over a mike
trying to make contact, the static, the troubled note.
But I must read out these poems to them
now, who knew me as a child,
and will not seek your face for comfort
or find after the last breath a need to stand back
and single out your name. What feelings
arise at the end of what I will have done,
must colour my structure through my song,
and must cover one day our wounds.
~for those who die for others, for Khotsofalang

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Helen McKinlay said...

A very moving poem. Thank you.
I especially like the lines
'Only dead men know
the error of a voice breaking over a mike
trying to make contact, the static, the troubled note.'

Rethabile said...

Thank you, Helen. Much obliged. You encourage me and I appreciate it.

tjpfau said...

Hmmm. I will stick my neck out a bit and offer advice -to myself, I suppose- based on an extremely personal reading of this poem.

If they were not your friends, they would not be there.

Rethabile said...

I must agree with you, because I trust your personal reading, what you take from this poem.

Mary McCallum said...

Yes, poems eh. Such flimsy things in some ways, so powerful in others. A string of words that can form a rope to pull a person, a people, But still words in the end not action ... and yet the speaking of words is indeed action. I like your poem, Rethabile, the way you place yourself and poetry in the firing line and offer it as a balm? A way for feelings to come out and be dealt with, too, perhaps? But I am not sure of that reading or what you mean by 'colour my structure through my song.' A thought-provoking poem, thank you.

Rethabile said...

Thanks, Mary. They are flimsy, and meaningful, then not, then again, a new bright thought in the reading. Thank you, again.