Thursday, 16 April 2015


Leon de Kock

My nemesis:
this woman
the One
the Wife
at last
of my debts
my bad debts
except in
promissory notes
tied to the future
a bond of good conduct
honorable dealing
liquidating my overdraft
my double-entries
opportunistic grabs
sports of nature
hidden in the march
the procession of days
days like figures
totalling and checking
squaring off odd bits
casting aside anomalies
impatient with unpaid accounts
balancing my past
against my present
my bottom line:
the now, the then,
how they check,
how they don’t
or won’t, and whether
it all adds up.
she’ll toss the accounts
out the window
buy me a pardon
against this promise:
our sport
our play
our redeeming,
a joint release
from the debtor’s jail
the gaoler’s hell.

From: McGregor Poetry Anthology 2013

Published by African Sun Press in association with the McGregor Poetry Festival
ISBN number 978-0-620-62302-5

The Poet:

Leon de Kock is a poet, translator, essayist, writer of fiction, literary translator and professional literary practitioner. He has published three volumes of poetry: Bloodsong (1997); gone to the edges (2006); and Bodyhood (2010). He was awarded the Pringle Prize for Poetry and the FNB Vita/English Academy Prize for Poetry Translation. His translation of Marlene van Niekerk’s major Afrikaans novel Triomf won the South African Translators Institute’s Award for Outstanding Translation in 2000. He is Professor of English at the University of Stellenbosch, having formerly served as an English professor at both the University of the Witwatersrand, where he was Head of the School of Literature and Language Studies, and the University of South Africa.

Previously published:

Leon de Kock: Athol Fugard in Stellenbosch first published on SLiPnet, 18 June 2013, at

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