Excerpt:In Pursuit of Poetic Perfection’

Co-written by Don Beukes, Bevan Boggenpoel, Leroy Abrahams and Selwyn Milborrow

For SA use these contacts to order: (Selwyn Miborrow)


eBook https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B07KPL3N8F/ref=dbs_a_w_dp_b07kpl3n8f

Kinderjare

Rooi gepantser in klokbroek
en al – Die sewentigs is gevul
met nuwe klanke – Sondag rituele
sluit in kerk en koeksisters en buite
waai die wind sand aan,
Radio blêr ‘Ek verlang na jou’
wie’s dit ma? Sonja Harold
haar naam kind.

My eerste Afrikaanse note uitbasuin
so raar en nie weer vir lank daarna –
Die tafel gedek dit dwing respek
Tafelberg staan en terg, gooi
skaduwees wêrelde weg vanaf
hier op die vlakte – Drome begin
tuimel – Vat raak.

Die trein huil – Sny oor verdeelde
spore, die berg in sig – O hoe pragtig
dis gewis – Hoekom ry ons derde klas?
My suster stel my gerus – Ek skud kop
maar geen verstaning – Andere loer
my so.

Ek voel skaam in die stad
my Kaap – Hulle stad!
Die bergies stink hul vra
om hulp en rinkink,
Wie is daai?
Vra ek fraai – Ek word
weggeruk en sluk,
Blonde koppies stap orent,
ek glimlag, maar hulle loer
my so.

Die eetplek is vol –
Voel uitgesluit,
Waar is ons mense dan?
Eetgerei word uiteengesit,
neergegooi kortaf gevra
wat ons wil hê – Hoe
ongemanierd, borrel ek –
My suster ruk weer aan my,
andere loer my so – Praat
saggies onder mekaar.

Ingelaat in hulle wêreld,
moet nou weer terugkeer,
Ek voel nog steeds snaaks
kan nie verstaan –
Die trein kreun op
verdeelde spore dit
draai weg –
weg – Die berg blou
nou spikkelmooi
dan in rooi getooi,
soos die son sak.

Veilig by die huis – Die
herinneringe bly maar
wat is verkeerd met my?
My vrae onbeantwoord
my tong gewikkel in
kinderlike stryd – Die
klanke voer my mee
‘Trein na Matjiesfontein’,
Mamma dis Sonja!
Ja my kind kom help my
gou – Los nou die radio.

Buite waai die wind sand aan…

© Don Beukes


(TRANSLATION)

Childhood Days

Armoured in red flares,
The seventies are filled with
sounds anew – Sunday rituals
include church and sticky doughnuts,
Outside an angry wind blows sound
abound, radio blasts out ‘Ring Ring’
‘who’s that mom? Abba their name son!’
My first taste of a foreign hit – My
second tongue, a fan so young,
The table laid in perfect culinary shade,
Table Mountain mocking, clouds frolicking
worlds apart from here on the Cape Flats
dreams begin – Tumbling taking hold
train squealing, cuts through divided lines,
Mountain in sight – How beautiful
such majestic might – ‘Why are we riding
in third class?’ I ask, sister dear
dousing innocent fear, head shaking
no clear understanding – Others looking
at me weirdly, I feel ashamed in the city
my Cape – Their city such a pity – The
bergies wreak vomiting grief, they beg
with callous hands outstretched – ‘Who is
that?’ innocently enquiring intrigued,
My hand tightly squeezed, pulled with ease.

Restaurant is packed – Feeling alienated
wondering, where’s our people?
Utensils provided – Thrown rather trying
to fight it, Shouting ‘what do you want?’
Feeling shunned – ‘How rude!’ I exhale,
Sister dear quelling my fear – Others are
looking at me weirdly, murmuring amongst
them, eyes piercing – Blonde heads popping
up and down, I smile at them
greeted by disdain – Allowed into their
wonderland world, must make the journey
home again.

My mind racing thoughts aimlessly pacing,
Still confused sister dear attempting to amuse,
The train groans on split lines – It eerily turns
away, away – The mountain now a blue haunting
hue momentarily bathed in red hazy orange too.

Safely entombed back home, murky memories
remain – What’s wrong with me?
Questions unanswered tongue twisted
musical interference temporary hindrance,
The sounds captivating – ‘Ring Ring’
‘Mamma it’s Abba! Yes my child come help
me now leave that rowdy radio!’

Outside the anxious wind blows sand
around – Table Mountain mummified
in a choking, churning shroud – My future
unsure, ignorant of a racial war,
Cocooned in love protected from above.

Outside – The wind blows
sand abound…

© Don Beukes


Bio

Don Beukes is a South African and British writer. He is the author of ‘The Salamander Chronicles’ (CTU) and ‘Icarus Rising-Volume 1’ (ABP), an ekphrastic collection. He taught English and Geography in both South Africa and the UK. His poetry has been anthologized in numerous collections and translated into Persian, French and Albanian. He was nominated by Roxana Nastase, editor of Scarlet Leaf Review for the ‘Best of the Net’ in 2017 as well as the Pushcart Poetry Prize in 2016. He was published in his first SA Anthology ‘In Pursuit of Poetic Perfection’ in 2018 (Libbo Publishers).


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