Charl JF Cilliers
Voortrekker Monument Under Construction - Poem by Charl JF Cilliers
Thoughts obsessively hasten backwards, past
the months and years of falling
without sound, sinking fast in vast
depths, a fish’s gasping, silent calling!
Further back, past the scaffolding
of the still unfinished monument,
my father eagerly wanting to sing
to me, in drunken merriment
thirty-odd metres above the ground,
with me perched on his shoulders, his voice tremulous
as the planks, an unhinging sound
as each foot, uncertain, makes its hesitant choices.
Even further to that calm afternoon when he hugged me tight,
dishevelled as if with sleep, and said:
Let’s go for a picnic on the hill at the construction site
of our wonderful country’s brand new fountainhead! ”
That quiet afternoon before the nightmares came
to teach me that picnics are not always fun and games.
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