13 September 2018

The sound of trees, a poem by Robert Frost

I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone.

I cannot say enough about Robert Frost. I even had a vivid dream about him once, not too long ago, whereupon he refused to have a selfie taken of me and him. I learned, from him, pace as well as belonging, I learned that it's okay to speak your tongue, the way your folks do. Not only that it's okay but that it's best. I learned that tradition is important, because I noticed how Mr Frost at the beginning spoke Shakespearean and then in later books spoke himself, spoke 'Vermontian'. I will never thank him enough. I learned his sonnets by heart and later imitated them, before I was able to try my own with my own tongue. Then I did. I wrote a few I actually liked, until another influence washed over me: a Jamaican one, and a Capetonian one, rolled into one. And now here I am, with all this sitting in my lap.

Robert Frost

11 September 2018

money, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

solitude was not
what I aspired to,
living a chemical life
just the two of us,
or with one-and-a-half
children as Sunday
parents, our staff
having left lunch
ready on the table,
spoons, forks, knives,
to go to their lives.
I walk on marble,
and wear thick fur,
not knowing any
more what it's all for.

Pindrop Press

7 September 2018

Rolihlahla, a poem by Rethabile Masilo

When his voice spoke out we knew it
and shared it quietly in our homes,
it sent birds off into a liberty
we'd sought, shook us and made
more sense than any bullet could.

A shipment of Negroes
left the shore into the world,
its face the Sirige masks
of far cotton fields.

From floor to roof
his tap root fills my room.
Bush lines crease its face,
Xhosa hair dots its head.

The first time I thought it was a mistake—
this ideal he was prepared to die for,
but it was there in his voice,
joined by others on the island
a stone's throw from The Cape
of Good Hope.

At night when the wind is still
you can still hear the island whisper
in nomine Patris et Fillii et Spiritus Sancti.
Until it quiets down and we go back
to work in the morning
and return to our shacks in the evening.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

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