Dmitri Jegels' Blog

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Some poems

The following poem was written in response to Toni Morrison’s (1987) Beloved. The preamble serves to locate the reader within a particular point of departure, by way of elucidation, as it were.

In the times from the front, the one who is beyond and who yet is, proclaims: Gratefully and in all reverence, I sprinkle sand on brother Eland, for brother Eland sacrifices his flesh for the nourishment of my people. Brother Eland emerged from sand, walked upon sand, died upon sand, and returns to sand, having sacrificed his life for me upon sand.
People of No Culture I:
Not a Grain

The unsung hero dies again
What is the name of the gift
If the giver is forgotten
What is the name of the boon
If the name was never written
What is the name of a people
If their tongue is gone too soon
Who shall call the name of the hero
When the hero dies again

Call forth the absent fathers
Recall the blessed mothers
Bring forth the sons and daughters
Who lie wasted in the land
Beat upon your breast beloved
Swim upon the ocean of time
The ancestral wave awaits you
You who have not yet come
You who know not how

The swift and the meek have fallen
The days of plenty are gone
Illusion walks amongst the blind
Sweet song of songs to the deaf
The swift and the meek have fallen
Sand for you Brother Kudu
Sand for you Brother Eland
No sand for you my people
Not a grain, not a grain is left


The following is a commentary on the plight of the first nations people of Southern Africa. It was inspired by an observation my youngest son Dakota Aiden Norman Rolihlahla made when he was but 11 years old.

Chronicles of the Gone I:
They Have Good Times

Aah, they have good times
Standing in front of
Their houses
Ignoring their spouses
Cape Flats
Eating Gatsbies
Talking in tongues
Mixed like their blood
From bloody days

Oh, they have good times
Speaking in tongues
Tongues willing and open
Of things for the hoping
But never to come
First nations last
Good times better
Better than owning
For owning is gone

This one was written for the children of June 16, 1976:

Slow moon rising*

Slow moon rising above the setting sun
Swift death ending the short life run

Of those who ruled by proud assegai,
there are none
Dust in the mines below

No more dance after hunt and kill
Only the gumboot remembers their skill
They build their master’s dome

Mother, where is your dignity?
Father, where is your pride?
Master, have mercy

Though the sapling must bend ‘neath the rush of the flood,
yet the children rise
Fall baton, fly bullet, gush blood…

*Inspired by Japanese haiku:
Of those who ruled, proud spears on high
there are none
Plumes of pampas grass
Yet ‘hope springs eternal’:
The Shores of Hope

The grace of a woman gliding over
The beauty of a man on bended knee
Round up the desperate lovers
Descry the wounded healers
Bow down to God’s decree

These are the times
For the ones redeemed
Unchained and burden free

Fight on the hungry soldiers
Design the blood by stone
Return to earth’s beloved
The truth, the word, the deed

We knew it for a moment,
We knew when it was lost
So shall we forgive our absent friends
And stand on the shores of hope
We stand on the shores of hope
(Written at Vernon’s Jazz Castle between 2 and 3 AM one Saturday morning in mid-October 2004)
Soos ‘n klip

Soos ‘n klip
Het sy my weg gegooi
Soos ‘n rots in die dorre woestyn
Het sy my verwerp
Na ons liefdes samesyn
Het ek deur haar vingers geglip
Het sy my weg gegooi
Soos ‘n klip

Soos ‘n rots
Bots die droom en die gedagte
Dat ons ons kan wees
Sy my lief, ek die geagte
Ek haar lief sy met al die magte
Maar soos ‘n rots
Staan sy trots
Met my hart in haar hand
En my liefde soveel sand
En haar hart hard
Soos ‘n klip

En soos ‘n klip
Het sy my weg gegooi
My sagte hart
soos ‘n klip
27 December 2010


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