Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Wish to Eye God

Some years ago, when my wife and I were travelling in southern Africa, we had the chance to hear a reading in Swaziland by the South African writers, Nadine Gordimer and her longtime friend and fellow activist, Mongane Wally Serote. While Gordimer read her story "The Ultimate Safari", Serote followed with a number of his poems, including (if I remember it correctly) the anguished "A Wish to Eye God".

A Wish to Eye God

May it happen that one day
When the sun wipes its face
and the moon shakes its sweat like a dog removing flies
I will no longer write about people
dying in the street and bleeding through the ears and eyes
and babies suffocating in suitcases in muddy dongas;
I am not pleading or praying
I am just polite
choking my shout from rushing out
I am calm
Since that other day when I saw that mother shout at you
     at the grave
and I knew
even her dead silent scream won't help
and I was not wrong
Since I have been to the graveyard to lay down a stabbed
You know that
I think
and think
about you and all they say about you
and what I see and hear and live
I have never had a life
but maybe I won't live for you
I feel like shouting.

Peter Adam Nash

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