James Matthews

(29 May 1929 / South Africa)

James Matthews
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James Matthews, poet, writer and publisher, has produced seven books of poetry, a collection of short stories, a novel and an anthology of poetry which he edited. Most of his work was banned under the previous government and was translated and published overseas. For 23 years he was denied a passport and was placed in detention from September to December 1976. Solitary confinement was widely used during the apartheid years; its purpose being to disorient, to dehumanise, to undermine the detainee's sense of self-identity.
James Matthews waged a struggle against this agenda with the one weapon the jailers couldn't take away from him - his ability to turn words into poems. In 1980 Matthews... more »

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Best Poem of James Matthews

The Midnight Hour

the midnight hour
has a special quality
a stillness of graveyards
after hours
am I the only one
alive to hear the dead
astir in their grave?
perhaps, I am dying
and now aware
only when the midnight hour
had passed
will my spirit depart
to take solitary walks
along the stars
and rest in the moon’s crescent
sipping moondew
from translucent goblet
seeking traces of others
who had wandered this way
ears strain to capture
echoes of conversations
of the past
refreshed, i continue passage
along heaven’s breadth
dawn finds ...

Read the full of The Midnight Hour

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