Poems

Teenaging
by Dorian Haarhoff

in shorts too tight
for marble pockets and catapult,
you jerk through the door
sudden as sperm,
bruised at arm and leg angle
where the skateboard ejaculated you.
voice cords lengthen
in their basebox,
croaking frog-prince laughter
at your baby brother.
nipple rings ache of magic apples,
skin itches in a witch’s chin
and david-hanging hands
scratch the goldenfuzz
laid in its testicle nest.
as your clock strikes its tweleve,
your blood scuttles like carriage-mice.
will you turn gentle
into nurturant man,
holding a small cinderella shoe?

***

An Etosha Tale
by Dorian Haarhoff

once upon a womb
in Sporokieswoud,
a moringa tree
seemed transfixed
in a witch’s sleep,
its bark ancient and pale,
bluegrey as death.

a silver jackal nestled
its nose in the bowl
and sniffed like a prince
while mad hatter hyenas
giggled in the high grass
and a flaxen lion
flexed yellow
at a waterhole.

then the elephant trumpeting,
tusk-trunked it with a jolt.
a pied priestbird blessed it
with benedict wings
and suddenly, this moringa
in a mica sky,
tufted in sun colour,
lightbright leaf
and wombfruit
to suckle a young giraffe.

***

Daily bread
by Dorian Haarhoff

white bread priests
fresh and fat beneath their crusts
who speak of hunger for God
are not palatable,
not in this country
with the daily price
of bread.

Commentary: Not ready for commentary yet, actually.  I just like this poem so far with little understanding.

***

photo taken and made lovely by Veronica

Show Me a Place
by Cupido

Show me a place

Of struggle and survival

Of hardship and pain

Of toughness and tenderness

Of love and life

Yes, a place of tender loving care

And I will show you Katutura.

Commentary:
I don’t think I’ve ever tried so hard to locate a book.  Every book store I’ve gone in has been lacking seriously in poetic resources.  No one I ask knows anything about Namibian poetry.  Naturally, now I’m basically obsessed with it.  This poem is one found in Tales of Katutura, an anthology composed by a secondary school teacher and those living in the town.  I have yet to get my hands on it, but this poem was found in an article describing the book’s release.  Although it is written simply, it shows a lot of the strong identity Namibians have.  Because they live in such a close-knit culture and are very interrelated, I am starting to notice how powerful their sense of belonging is compared to my own.  Hopefully when I find the book I’ll find more poems to post!

*

Am I the Forgotten
by Patema Naem Haihambo

Am I the forgotten?
Maybe the blood that flows from my veins,
under the door,
Will hurt less than
the tears that fall from my eyes,
to the floor.

Am I the forgotten?
Am I the forgotten?

Commentary:
I put up this photo of the children because it’s the image I instantly went to after touring Katutura yesterday.  However, after talking to Paula, I realize that maybe these aren’t the forgotten.  There is such an amazing bond between the people of this community, and most communities in African cultures, that I don’t feel they should be considered “forgotten.”  Perhaps in our eyes they are, in fact, the suffering and the less fortunate, but their family ties seem so much stronger than the ones we have back home.
I think all of us can be the forgotten sometimes.

*

Coming home to your heart
by Miroslava Odalovic

I’m coming I’m coming home
To your heart
(Really don’t know where I heard this)
I’m coming back with every step
To hear you play the drums of beauty
Oh you do it well
I’m coming close with every touch
To make some place for clouds to sway
To make some room for birds to sing
To hear you say it’ll be ok
Just some more love for us to bring
I travel far I travel far
To find your smile in every smile
I’m coming back I’m coming back
Back to your beautiful heart

Commentary:
I just love this poem, especially as I begin my journey to Namibia.  I know homesickness will follow me because I have built such ties back home, but I will be coming back, no matter the adventure I go on.  I’m so blessed and fortunate to have people at home who miss me, who are willing to keep in touch and want to know what is happening in my life.

*

Hope is the thing with feathers
by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul,
and sings the tune without words,
and never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
and sore must be the storm that
could abash the little bird that
kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
and on the strangest sea;
yet, never, in extremity,
it asked a crumb of me.

Commentary:
One of my favorite poems ever.

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