Frank Meintjies

Rookie - 7 Points (Rietvlei, South Africa)

Nelson Mandela; A Sanguine Farewell Poem by Frank Meintjies


during the week nelson mandela died
death lost its sting

a small yellow bird came
each morning
to knock, with its beak, against my window pane

early, gently, like drizzle, like sunset, like green of a hill, like touch of an open hand
soft as new skin over a wound
gentle as the kora
vibrating in the ear

during the week that soul left body
it rained, extensively, intensively
convincingly
soggy fields, waterlogged lawns, drenched thatch, muddy pools;
slippery pathways
urban bodies enduring change &
long-walkers to rural stores
cooled
cooled down

the sky's flat canopy
painted ash-grey

i think: we let them go, a part of them go
a part of us go

there was a time, a phase

a novel rich in idiom, culture and place; a lilting story
& tugging of the ordinary
a song
from deep within the soul
a sweeping gaze across so many oceans, so many hills

i let it go, i hold on

across the mbashe river
animals, between grazing
stand still for long periods
looking this way

in pleats of their clothing
the chiefs & indunas
carry
the dust
from the nearby villages
in brow-lines, the stories
that go back a long way

the rain, a gift
from those who went before
a gift for us, for those who remain; a gift
from
hintsa, makana, autshumao, the first of the first...

the rain is for the farmers
for the fighters that died
for those who shed hope
and those who, with sweaty brows & dry lips,
blow on waning coals

on the plains
of this heart, momentarily
there is abundance; favour and grace sprout
there are rain-fingers
writing
deep tracks in the sand

Frank Meintjies
(20 Dec 2013)

Submitted: Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Edited: Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Topic of this poem: History


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