Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Afrika-Dig

(photo by photographer Liesel Kershoff < http://www.lieselkershoff.com/)

this is one of my favourite performance poems that my audience and i have enjoyed since i conceived it in 2009. i have never performed it in English. it is one of those poems that comes to its full right in my mothertongue. Yet for the sake of my English readers, a translation follows.

afrika-dig

ek wil 'n gedig skryf wat soos afrika ruik
wat soos die heuwels van afrika
onder my voete pols
'n gedig wat soos afrika jou laat voel
dat jy tuis gekom het
'n gedig wat afrika-vas is op die tong
wat gloei soos die afrika-son op my rug

my tong is warm afrika-klip waarop die son vurig neerpyl
en die sonbesies teen die boombas van my keel sing
sing sing sing
die afrika lug en doringbome en krieke
en woestyn-stilte
sing sing sing
afrika uit die woude van my afrika-tong

my gedig wil soos aalwyne die lug steek en
met bloedklanke die ondergaan van my sonswoord
tot stilte en vrede roep
my woorde wil jou roep soos die skaars watergate
in die dorre landskap en die klanke wil dorstig
opgelek word deur die tonge van skugter koedoes

met hierdie gedig wil ek nie sin maak met woord
ek wil my tong soos 'n rotsblok laat tuimel
met die steil kranse af
en met die val wil
ek leer om weer aarde-taal te praat
afrika-aarde taal

africa poem

i want to write a poem that smells like africa
that pulses under my feet
like the hills of africa
a poem that like africa makes you feel
that you have reached home
a poem that is africa-steady on the tongue
that glows like the africa sun on my back

my tongue is warm africa-stone on which the sun fiery arrows
and the cicadas sing against the bark of my throat
sing sing sing
the africa sky and thorntrees and crickets
and desert-silence
sing sing sing
africa from the forests of my africa tongue

my poem wants to pierce the sky like aloes and
with bloodsounds the setting of my sunword
calls to silence and peace
my words want to call you like the scarce waterholes
in the bare and dry landscape and the sounds want to be
thirstily lapped up by the tongues of shy kudus

with this poem i do not want to make sense with word
i want my tongue to tumble like rock
from the steep kranse
and with the fall
i want to learn again
to speak with the tongue of the earth
africa-earth tongue

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