Since we Poem by Antjie Krog

Since we

Rating: 3.3


since we started walking
this road the irises
finished blooming the still
abandoned eyeballs of
the light blue ones the plush
folded bats of the purple row since

we started this road the
grass now gasps away seed
the buttercups have dropped
their leaves like nail clippings
the camelia's bathrobe
among the cedars withered from the

branches since we started
the road the tough pony-
tails of the wisteria
fell in disrepute the
banksia waterfall
finished her fatal plunge since we have

started walking this road
the swallows came back we
can smell the jasmine from
its jugular the snow
melted from the mountains
since we started a man tumbled back-

wards into all this air
what we breathe is the air
of whole this world the sky
overwhelmed in writings
of grief at dusk we do
become dark of tongue as we translate

disintegration our
ankles reek mortal but
god how strong our thighs have
become since we walked this
road how fierce how savage
our filigree as the heart bangs in terror

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Diana Van Den Berg 04 February 2017

Oops! I left out convinced me otherwise after both, and referring to the present tense.

2 0 Reply
Diana Van Den Berg 04 February 2017

Oh, my! This is Antjie Krog at her brilliant best! You could never be boring or ordinary if you tried! I love, love, love, love, LOVE the way that “Since we” so cleverly meanders further in each stanza and projects itself into the title and the other examples of enjambment and the lack of punctuation that makes the effect of the enjambment be even more effective, especially in enhancing all the changes and thus the passing of time that the two have been spending time together in the haven of nature and possibly a metaphor for life – and also (talking still about the enjambment) linking the stanzas and the experience over time as one glorious whole. I particularly enjoyed the very clever and effective enjambment of: pony tails despite the disappointment that it wasn’t a real pony. At first I thought this was about somebody who had since died (I would have euphemistically said “passed on” to anyone else) , but the present tense in: ... we can smell the jasmine and in: but god how strong our thighs have become and in: the heart bangs in terror though “the heart” could be either just the narrator’s heart, but I believe that it is referring metaphorically to both, I love the anthropomorphism of the second and third stanzas and their sensuality which you have always been able to express so freely and yet so tastefully and cleverly since the age of 17 and perhaps earlier. I loved the powerful scent of jasmine that you brought out in: we can smell the jasmine from its jugular I love too the enigma of: since we started a man tumbled back- wards into all this air Perhaps a man fell off a cliff – perhaps it refers metaphorically to the fall from grace of a man in history – or one that you know. I love too the whispers of stream of consciousness in the scent of the jasmine to the air that the man fell through to the air “we” breathe to the whole of the sky and the seamless turning around to: overwhelmed in writings of grief at dusk we do become dark of tongue as we translate Translating disgration is an interesting concept, and in line with the darker turn of the poem’s second part. And yes, with Antjie Krog, expect the unexpected as with: but god how strong our thighs have become since we walked this road I love, love, love the poetic power and magnificence and mininificence of: how fierce how savage our filigree and what an unexpected, enigmatic, crashing crescendo of a dénouement in: as the heart bangs in terror I am thinking, realisation of mortality. Perhaps, perhaps not.

2 0 Reply
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