Friday, 29 May 2015

Videopoetry: From SEPTEMBER 1, 1939

From SEPTEMBER 1, 1939 

All I have is a voice

To undo the folded lie,

The romantic lie in the brain

Of the sensual man-in-the-street 

And the lie of Authority

Whose buildings grope the sky: 

There is no such thing as the State 

And no one exists alone;

Hunger allows no choice

To the citizen or the police;

We must love one another or die.


W.H. Auden

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

I’ve come to take you home

A tribute to Sarah Baartman
Holland, June 1998

I have come to take you home –
home! Remember the veld,
the lush green grass beneath the big oak tree?
The air is cool there and the sun does not burn.
I have made your bed at the foot of the hill,
your blankets are covered in buchu and mint,
the proteas stand in yellow and white
and the water in the stream chuckles sing-songs
as it hobbles along over little stones.

I have come to wrench you away –
away from the poking eyes of the man-made monster
who lives in the dark with his clutches of imperialism,
who dissects your body bit by bit,
who likens your soul to that of Satan
and declares himself the ultimate God!

I have come to soothe your heavy heart,
I offer my bosom to your weary soul.
I will cover your face with the palms of my hands,
run my lips over the lines in your neck,
feast my eyes on the beauty of you
and I will sing for you
for I have come to bring you peace.

I have come to take you home
where the ancient mountains shout your name.
I have made your bed at the foot of the hill.
Your blankets are covered in buchu and mint,
the proteas stand in yellow and white.
I have come to take you home
where I will sing for you,
for you have brought me peace,
for you have brought us peace

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:

Diana Ferrus is a writer, poet, performance poet, story-teller, editor and publisher, best known for her epic poem about the Khoisan woman, Sarah Baartman, whose remains were on display in Paris until 1986. She is a founder member of the Afrikaanse Skrywersvereniging, Bush Poets and Women in Xchains. Her works, in both Afrikaans and English, have been published in various anthologies and a collection, Ons Komvandaan.

Previously published:

Diana Ferrus: I’ve come to take you home; Obsession; and The journey from her collection I’ve come to take you home.

Monday, 25 May 2015


ek het ’n boom waaroor ek droom:
die stam groei regop uit die aardkors
en staan daar soos ’n paal bo water –
vreemd in ons droë waterarm land
dan vertak die stam in velerlei dun dun latjies
en sprei ’n blarekroon na die hemel
om ten minste manna uit die lug te haal
my boom se takke vorm ’n kom en gaan
vir voëls van enerse én anderster vere
my boom huisves ’n enorme versamel voëlnes;
sy word in-der-daad ’n verenigde front vir vrede

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:

Engemi Ferreira is gebore in Bloemfontein, getoë in Namibië en het studeer in Pretoria, o.a. drama, kuns en sang. Haar eerste gedigte is inTydskrif vir Letterkunde gepubliseer toe sy vyftien jaar oud was en haar debuutroman Die jaar toe my ma begin sing het, het verskyn toe sy vyf en vyftig was. Tussenin lê ’n rekenaar vol verse, stories en songs

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Billy's Blog: My Sweet, Crushed Angel

My Sweet, Crushed Angel
You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to hold hands with the Beautiful One.

You have waltzed with great style,
My sweet, crushed angel,
To have ever neared God's heart at all.

Our Partner is notoriously difficult to follow,
And even His best musicians are not always easy
To hear.

So what if the music has stopped for a while.

So what
If the price of admission to the Divine
Is out of reach tonight.

So what, my dear,
If you do not have the ante to gamble for Real Love.

The mind and the body are famous
For holding the heart ransom,

But Hafiz knows the Beloved's eternal habits.

Have patience,

For He will not be able to resist your longing
For Long.

You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to kiss the Beautiful One.

You have actually waltzed with tremendous style,
O my sweet,
O my sweet crushed angel.


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Videopoetry: Wild Geese

 Wild Geese 

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.


Mary Oliver

Monday, 18 May 2015

Poetry Workshop with Adrian Van Wyk and Daniel Schwartz

On Saturday 16th May the Poetry Festival hosted a highly successful workshop at the NGK Church Hall. Twelve grade 7 and 8 pupils from local schools attended the presentation by Stellenbosch based Adrian Van Wyk and Daniel Schwartz. The children were chosen on the basis of their love of language, and they willingly gave up their Saturday morning to learn some of the skills involved in writing poetry. Adrian and Daniel proved to be outstanding presenters, and certainly lit the fire of passion in the youngsters, who willingly responded to their enthusiasm. 

The workshop was the first event in what we hope will grow into a significant project. Called " Growing poetry" it is our effort to help give significant assistance to young people in the area.

The project hopes to give the youth tools to express themselves, but also to enhance their self-esteem and grow their confidence.

Judging by the happy faces at our first event, we have started a significant process. Let's hope we can keep the momentum going.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Werfjoernaal Mei 2015

Ek was reeds diep in my middeljare toe ek eendag 'n groep mense op televisie sien Tai Chi doen het. Ek was dadelik verlief op die vloeiende byna hipnotiese bewegings en het begin soek na 'n meester wat kans sou sien vir so 'n bleeksiel soos ek wat nog nooit enige sport beoefen het nie.

Ek oefen gereeld Tai Chi op die werf voor my bakoond saam met 'n klein groepie dorpenaars wat dapper genoeg is net na dagbreek saam met my in te val.

Volgens oorlewering dateer Tai Chi uit die vroegste eeue en is gegrond op die waarneming van diere en jagters. Hierdie gedig is geskryf as deel van 'n skryfoefening saam met Anne Schuster. Ons moes een versreel oor en oor gebruik en elke keer net die woordorde omruil. Ek het dadelik aan die sirkelgang van Tai Chi gedink, en spesifiek aan die die motief "grasp the sparrow's tail".

Friday, 15 May 2015

Videopoetry: When Death Comes

When Death Comes 

When death comes 

like the hungry bear in autumn; 

when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse 

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut; 

when death comes 

like the measle-pox 

when death comes 

like an iceberg between the shoulder blades, 

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering: 

what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness? 

And therefore I look upon everything 

as a brotherhood and a sisterhood, 

and I look upon time as no more than an idea, 

and I consider eternity as another possibility, 

and I think of each life as a flower, as common 

as a field daisy, and as singular, 

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth, 

tending, as all music does, toward silence, 

and each body a lion of courage, and something 

precious to the earth. 

When it's over, I want to say all my life 

I was a bride married to amazement. 

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms. 

When it's over, I don't want to wonder 

if I have made of my life something particular, and real. 

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened, 

or full of argument. 

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world. 


Mary Oliver

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Reservoir Blog May 2015 edition

I started out writing this latest missive with a bit of a blast at the notion of monarchy. After some thought, I have decided to scrap that. I will leave you all to your own opinions on the system of monarchy. I am sure you do not want to hear my ranting!

Rather let’s look at something so much more enjoyable. One of the reasons I love living in this part of the world is that we actually have seasons. I lived in Durban for a very long time. In Durban you have two seasons: very hot and wet, and hot and dry. Now at last we get to appreciate all four seasons. Autumn is here on the edge of the Karroo. The vines have turned golden brown, and the sunsets have been spectacular. The days are warm, and a slight chill is creeping in on us at night. We look forward to rain, an infrequent visitor this year. Special days lie ahead.

Here is an extract from Only Say the Word, a novel by Irish writer, Niall Williams;

“Autumn progresses. The rain is ceaseless now, and yet seems hardly to fall, a soft grey wrapped like a shroud about all west of the Shannon. Leaves of sycamore blacken and curl their edges. When the wind picks up the rain, they come slanting across the cottage window in stricken flight. All the last blossoms are faded now, and crimson geraniums are stalks of brown leaves and yellowed leaves. Everywhere the countryside is tattered, wind-wild. You can feel that somewhere in the deeps of the earth something is slowly souring which once was sweetening.

Across the valley small herds of cattle move and stand and move again for shelter. Between the showers huge blackbirds come and alight in your garden. I raise my hand from the table and they do not fly off. They wait there, as though burdened with some significance when they know they have none.

Rain comes again and streams down the window. “

This week’s poem is a tribute to Autumn. Enjoy.

Ode To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has oe’r-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid they store?

Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

Thee sitting carelessly on a granary floor,

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,

Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook;

Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,-

While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,

And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;

Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn

Among the river sallows, borne aloft

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft

The red-breast whistles from garden-croft;

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

John Keats

Have a good month everybody, and be careful out there. 


Thursday, 7 May 2015

Videopoetry: The Journey

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice --

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

"Mend my life!"

each voice cried.

But you didn't stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do --

determined to save

the only life you could save.


Mary Oliver

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Create Space for your Poetry Writing – weekend facilitated by Kerry Hammerton 1 – 3 May 2015

At the beginning of the year we make promises to ourselves – ‘this year I am going to spend more time writing and being creative’. Then we get caught up in daily life and at the end of a week or month find we haven’t written anything. Not a line of a poem or even a journal entry.

At the beginning of this year, Kerry Hammerton extended this invitation:

In 2015 I invite you to invest time in yourself and your poetry writing by joining me for a weekend at Temenos in McGregor. During the weekend you will spend one-on-one time with me getting feedback on your poetry, you will have an opportunity to read your poetry (both old and new) to the group (and get feedback from them), you will also be able to generate new material in guided workshops. There will also be optional sitting and walking meditations that you can participate in. You will also have time to explore the gardens at Temenos, walk in the village or simply write.

Here are a few photos taken this weekend…..

Videopoetry: Brood


ek voel vanoggend vol klonte

soos meel en gis en water

rofweg gemeng in ’n bak

nog vreemd vir mekaar

laat my met rus

dek my liggies toe

met ’n sagte lap

kort voor lank is ek anders

ek het een geword

ek is wakker

ek is lewendig

ek lig my uit die mengbak

begin myself ritmies knie

uitrek en weer toevou

na vyf minute is ek buigsaam soos jong vel

bruisend van inwendige vreugde

gereed vir die gisting van die dag se gebeure

ek is perfek gevorm

in ’n lap van sagte oranje

rys ek nou uit

in die volheid van die tyd

verwarm my teen jou hart

tot my kors oopspring en glimlag

maak my wakker uit my tere groei

tot ek groot en bruin en knappend is

gereed om gebreek te word

en lewe te gee


Hester van der Walt

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Derek Walcott

Learning to love ourselves is the key to happiness. Reflection on ourselves, our past and life opens our hearts to appreciate who we are and want to be. First, we need to love ourselves before we can attempt to love others.

The time will come
When, with elation,
You will greet yourself arriving
At your own door, in your own mirror.
And each will smile at the other’s welcome.

And say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
To itself, to the stranger who has loved you

All your life, whom you ignored
For another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf.

The photographs, the desperate notes.
Peel your image from the mirror,
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott