When Everything Jerked To A Halt Poem by Gert Strydom

When Everything Jerked To A Halt

(for my grandmother Baby Strydom / Elizabeth Filda Strydom)

As a student I was busy in a calculus mathematics class,
when the lecturer informed me about an immediate visit to the rector.

At that extension campus of a American university
there were strange principles about how near a man could come to a girl:
a meter and a half they did decide for you
and with a beautiful girlfriend that kind of thing left me in trouble.

The secretary immediately let me enter the rector's office,
he understood the impact of the death of a grandmother.
He was a good god-fearing kind of man and did pray for me,
while I sat on a chair in his office.

My grandmother Baby, was the most loving person that I knew
and in a way she kept spoiling me.
My whole world suddenly jerked to a halt:
about the minibus to Cape Town airport I just have a vague impression.

It was if suddenly the stars did fall from the sky,
without a dad my grandmother was an extension of him.
Time suddenly did not to me matter
and the shock of her illness and death just became worse.

At the airport in Johannesburg my mother waited on me,
she did travel all the way form Estcourt (in Natal)and her voice was soft
but in silence we drove in her car to Brakpan
and I was too shocked to cry while pain was cutting still deeper into me.

My grandmother did not deserve a cruel cancer-death
and every other grandchild did see her a last time.
At the hospital my uncle (with my name and surname)tried to drive my mother away
and that I was not told in time, his behaviour did impress on me.

My grandmother gave her blessings to each other grandchild
and I wonder what she would have said to me if such a thing were possible.
Her funeral is like a terrible dream that just do pass me,
where with too much pain without tears I stood at her grave.

At a loss by aeroplane I returned to the university and my girl friend
and there is nobody in that family that now acts as a bridge.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Topic(s) of this poem: life and death
Gert Strydom

Gert Strydom

Johannesburg, South Africa
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