Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

My father’s gift

Enlarge poem

My father did not have a pen,
he had a sledge-hammers
and an enormous furnace
and a dark blue shirt
that smelled of soap
when he put it on in the early morning
and smelled of hard work
when he took it off in the evening.

For my Bat Mitzvah he gave me a pen.
It was an old-fashioned pen,
just as he had wanted for his own Bar Mitzvah.
But instead, his parents gave him his first dark blue shirt
and told him that when he was older
he would have to buy his own pen.

My father’s favourite moment
was when he gave each daughter
a beautiful pen at her Bat Mitzvah.

Now we are grown up and he is old,
we write poems of praise to him
and though we all have computers now,
we send him letters of love with these pens
and put them in beautiful envelopes
writing his name and our old home address
with beautifully formed letters.

My father does not wear his blue shirt any more,
and is often at his own computer now.
But whenever he gets one of our letters
he caresses it, smudging the ink slightly,
which makes him smile.

My father’s gifts to us were pens.
Now we write poems about his love for our mother,
about his devotion to his daughters
and about his blue shirt
that smelled of soap in the morning
and of hard work when he hugged us
on his return home after work.

Azila Talit Reisenberger

Featured Poem:

Freedom / Feminine conformity

Enlarge poem

Freedom

Today I went to my lingerie drawer
and resolutely searched for my bloomers.
Out came the tiny lacy things
in pink and black,
out came the G-strings and tangas,
the polka dot and the red little flowers.

I’ve had enough of beauty that itches
sexy lace that scratches
coquettish little things that get stuck
or something high-legged that
has to be pulled down
all the time.

Now I am comfortable
ready to be wrapped and hugged
by old fashion cotton
that covers me wall to wall.

After years of been hidden
I found my bloomers
right at the bottom of the drawer.
I brought them into the sunlight.
and smiled.

Feminine conformity

A few months ago I wrote that
I had had enough of my sexy lingerie
and looked for my bloomers.
I was proud of my freedom just to be.
I decided that it was better
to be wrapped and hugged wall to wall
by old-fashioned cotton
than to be itched and scratched
by little lacy things.

But a few weeks went by and I realized
that I had eternity
to be covered in cotton shrouds.
I thought: What is a little discomfort
for a coquettish sensation,
if it puts a spring in my step
and makes the world know
that I am still in the race?

azila new

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (0)
  • Pride (1)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (1)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (1)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (4)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (1)
  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (1)

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Biography

Azila Talit Reisenberger is an award winning author who has had poetry, short stories and a novel published in Israel, the USA, UK, Germany and South Africa.

Two of her plays: Adam’s Apple and The loving father, were staged at the Grahamstown Festival.

She heads the Hebrew section in the School of Languages and Literatures at the University of Cape Town, and renowned for her passionate lectures and articles on gender issues and feminist theology in the Bible. Since 1990 she has served as the Rabbi of Temple Hillel, a progressive Jewish community in East London. She lives in Cape Town with her husband and three children.

Azila Talit Reisenberger

azila new
azila new

Biography

Azila Talit Reisenberger is an award winning author who has had poetry, short stories and a novel published in Israel, the USA, UK, Germany and South Africa.

Two of her plays: Adam’s Apple and The loving father, were staged at the Grahamstown Festival.

She heads the Hebrew section in the School of Languages and Literatures at the University of Cape Town, and renowned for her passionate lectures and articles on gender issues and feminist theology in the Bible. Since 1990 she has served as the Rabbi of Temple Hillel, a progressive Jewish community in East London. She lives in Cape Town with her husband and three children.

My father’s gift

Enlarge poem

My father did not have a pen,
he had a sledge-hammers
and an enormous furnace
and a dark blue shirt
that smelled of soap
when he put it on in the early morning
and smelled of hard work
when he took it off in the evening.

For my Bat Mitzvah he gave me a pen.
It was an old-fashioned pen,
just as he had wanted for his own Bar Mitzvah.
But instead, his parents gave him his first dark blue shirt
and told him that when he was older
he would have to buy his own pen.

My father’s favourite moment
was when he gave each daughter
a beautiful pen at her Bat Mitzvah.

Now we are grown up and he is old,
we write poems of praise to him
and though we all have computers now,
we send him letters of love with these pens
and put them in beautiful envelopes
writing his name and our old home address
with beautifully formed letters.

My father does not wear his blue shirt any more,
and is often at his own computer now.
But whenever he gets one of our letters
he caresses it, smudging the ink slightly,
which makes him smile.

My father’s gifts to us were pens.
Now we write poems about his love for our mother,
about his devotion to his daughters
and about his blue shirt
that smelled of soap in the morning
and of hard work when he hugged us
on his return home after work.

Featured Poem:

Freedom / Feminine conformity

Enlarge poem

Freedom

Today I went to my lingerie drawer
and resolutely searched for my bloomers.
Out came the tiny lacy things
in pink and black,
out came the G-strings and tangas,
the polka dot and the red little flowers.

I’ve had enough of beauty that itches
sexy lace that scratches
coquettish little things that get stuck
or something high-legged that
has to be pulled down
all the time.

Now I am comfortable
ready to be wrapped and hugged
by old fashion cotton
that covers me wall to wall.

After years of been hidden
I found my bloomers
right at the bottom of the drawer.
I brought them into the sunlight.
and smiled.

Feminine conformity

A few months ago I wrote that
I had had enough of my sexy lingerie
and looked for my bloomers.
I was proud of my freedom just to be.
I decided that it was better
to be wrapped and hugged wall to wall
by old-fashioned cotton
than to be itched and scratched
by little lacy things.

But a few weeks went by and I realized
that I had eternity
to be covered in cotton shrouds.
I thought: What is a little discomfort
for a coquettish sensation,
if it puts a spring in my step
and makes the world know
that I am still in the race?

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (0)
  • Pride (1)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (1)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (1)
  • Captivation (0)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (4)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (1)
  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (1)

My father’s gift

Enlarge poem

My father did not have a pen,
he had a sledge-hammers
and an enormous furnace
and a dark blue shirt
that smelled of soap
when he put it on in the early morning
and smelled of hard work
when he took it off in the evening.

For my Bat Mitzvah he gave me a pen.
It was an old-fashioned pen,
just as he had wanted for his own Bar Mitzvah.
But instead, his parents gave him his first dark blue shirt
and told him that when he was older
he would have to buy his own pen.

My father’s favourite moment
was when he gave each daughter
a beautiful pen at her Bat Mitzvah.

Now we are grown up and he is old,
we write poems of praise to him
and though we all have computers now,
we send him letters of love with these pens
and put them in beautiful envelopes
writing his name and our old home address
with beautifully formed letters.

My father does not wear his blue shirt any more,
and is often at his own computer now.
But whenever he gets one of our letters
he caresses it, smudging the ink slightly,
which makes him smile.

My father’s gifts to us were pens.
Now we write poems about his love for our mother,
about his devotion to his daughters
and about his blue shirt
that smelled of soap in the morning
and of hard work when he hugged us
on his return home after work.

Comments

Your email address will not be published.