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Tag: strength

Narcissus & Echo

Oh, it was beautiful

When I had but you to fill

When I was one part shadow

Two parts echo

A gecko on the walls of your heart

Through your halls I roamed

Silent from the start

Quiet till the end

I called you home

I called you friend


I was hauntingly unaware

Of my own hapless hollowing

My life spent in following

Your trace element


And so it went

You violence defined me

Your voice redefined me


I was always behind

Bewilderedly blind

I moved to your music

Unconsciously, deliciously, un-nutritiously, and viciously confined

Masochistly misaligned


I was happy to be

For all eternity

Empty infinitely

Forever and ever




The impact of a heartbeat’s echo

In an empty chest

Is hard to ignore


Too prominent to dominate

Too consistently insistent

Hard to quieten


It made me feel twice as alive

And infinitely more aware

Of my undeniable mortality


While your anger pulled me

Hither and thither

It un-fooled me


You’d failed to consider

That in hollowness

Sound is not swallowed

But amplified

Impossible to hide


You had me so empty

And so miniscule

That I almost drowned

In the glorious sound

Of a majestic echo


In the limitless possibilities of my own big bang

I rang and resounded

I sang, unbounded

My freedom new-founded

And I lost sight of your face

Within that sepulchral space

I ceased calling you friend

I stopped living for you


Because I never knew I didn’t end…

But now I do.


She spun a cocoon
The colour of a silent moon
Around what remained
Of her lost and un-gained.

She bound bone to bone
Stitched smile to song
And calmly coloured her cries
In the shades of reason gone wrong.

But when she saw
That her loss was a learning curve
And her being
Not a noun, but a verb —

She shed her silken armour
Turned her body to the sun
And remembered the shape of a hug in her arms
In time to embrace her battle undone.


You were beautiful in Borneo
Like a song I’d been expecting
To start playing on the stereo

I was fragile when you found me
A lifetime’s worth of sorrow
And disappointment built around me

But you gave me a standing ovation
A merry-go-round of applause
And cut through my curt conversation
With your musical mixed metaphors

You asked me why I was waiting
For something already long gone
And suddenly all of that aching
Disappeared in the song of a swan

Silwer seisoen

Jy was ‘n silwer seisoen
Versier met groen verassings
Ek was natuur se weduwee
Winter-kaal en kleurloos.

Jy kon duidelik sien
My siel was was vas betrap
In ‘n gebreekte grafsteen.

En ek het niks geweet
Van roomys drome, wilger bome
Of die heiligheid van somer reën.

Ek sal nooit vergeet
Hoe, in die sterlig
Jy my naam verander het
Na ‘n gedig.

En in jou vrugbare voetspore
Was ek van voor af gebore
Terwyl jy, in die sonsopkoms van my toekoms
Vir my ‘n sandkasteel bou.

I wanted to love you

I wanted to love you
But I didn’t know how
Or when or where
To start.

I couldn’t find a space
Between the abrasions on your heart
On which to lay my head.

I tread softly between
The tearing tissue
As you bled.

But I couldn’t find a place
To build my happiness
From your unhappiness.

I tried to find a lily pad
On the surface of that red river
On which to float.

I swam in vain
In search of a smile
On the bottom of that plasma pool.

So I honoured the voice inside my head
I let you go, kissed you and said,
“I wish I’d never met you.”

I caressed you one last time
To separate your pain from mine.

I don’t even think you noticed
Me skipping down the street
And how I left that heap of despair
On the floor
Between your feet.

As die lewe soms oorspoel

Jy laat my dink aan fynbos en heuning
Ek voel jou rustigheid in my spiere se spanning

In die spasies tussen my kinderdae
En die masker wat ek deesdae dra
Skenk jy vir my ‘n kussing

Daars ‘n sagte plek in die holte van jou nek
Waar my trane versamel en verdamp

Jou woorde weef self-vertroue deur my vlegsel
Terwyl jou oë my leegheid blou inkleur en met vere voltooi

Jy neem die haat wat aan my ligaam klou
Saggies tussen jou vingers
En laat dit vry

Jou asem, koel teen my klam vel, verlam my
My vuiste ontvou teen jou bors en ondek jou hart se ritme

Uitgeput teen jou skouer
En opgekrul soos ‘n baba
Draai jy my in drome toe

En in die holte van jou hand
Lê daar ‘n klip

Die ou ma

Die ou vrou sit en pyp rook op die stoep
Terwyl die son sak
Sy sien my raak
En begin te roep.

Sy sê, “Kind
Kom bietjie nader.”
Sy sê, “Kind
Jy lyk net soos jou vader.”

Met krag
Wat ek nooit sou verwag nie
Gooi sy haar arms om my lyf
Sy druk my styf.

En sy lyk net soos ‘n spook
Sy ryk na rook
Sy sê, “Kind
Kind help my.
Daar is dele van my lewe wat verdwyn.
Help my hul vind.”

Silwer soos spinnerakke
Is haar haare
Haar stem klink
Soos herfs se blaare.

Sy rus haar kop op my skouer
Sy haal moeilik asem
Sy vluister, “Kind
Jou hart klop nes jou ma s’n.”

Om ons word dit stadig skemer
Om ons word dit skielik somer

Sy sê, “Kind
Hou my nader vas.”
“Want jy ryk nes ek,” sê sy.
“Toe ek nog mens was.”

She is me

She is free
She lives her life as a book with intricate pages
I can smell them on her. I smell books on my mother. She reeks of their shrieking, pongs of their pulsing.

I cry her a book
With my tears, I mold a wet life for us
My mother makes me cry because she is in me
When I whisper, her eyes close
When she whispers, I become still.

Mother, when I was small, you had broad arms and strong wrists for me
You still carry me in a variety of ways.

Now, I want to carry you – your body, your heart, your soul
I will make myself so strong that I can carry it all – on my back, with my arms, inside my mouth

The day you placed me outside of you, I never wanted to let go.
I pulled, you pushed.
You pulled and I pushed.

The friction caused a dictionary.
And we rewrote our souls. Our soul twins.

I’ll never let you go, wherever you are…