Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

My dearest country

Enlarge poem

My South-Africa
You have set yourself on fire
Hid secrets in your wounds
Split open at the seams
Dug in to with rusty fingers
They tried to claim you their own.

You have seen dark days; innocent
Blood like rain drops on your face, the smell
Of petrol burning flesh, all to be fair
In love and in war.
And in war did they take names in vain,
Did they inflict scars on your
Soil; enriched with stories that are untold
Yet to be learnt,
Yet to be courageous,
Yet to be believed in.

You have shielded
Men whose knees have never
Known the earth.
You have been both a refuge
And a refugee –
A source of tragic loss
And stupendous triumph –
An island to the shipwrecked,
An incarcerator of the dreamer and
An inspiration to the globe.

You have mourned the loss of mother
And of father, of daughter
And of son, of brother and of sister

And of children who will never die.

Darren Carolissen

Featured Poem:

You and Winter (the months I let you stay)

Enlarge poem

You (with all your self-doubt)
I see the way you move in a room.
The way you quiet your skin,
and carry yourself like you don’t belong.
Swiftly you take flight around
but you are
careful of touch, cautious of feeling,
wary of being seen by anyone
who might not understand the curl of your hair.

As if you are not enough, you try to
make yourself more by looking like
the people you see on the television;
but you are enough with your sun kissed skin
adorned with promises of love
those lips that stumble over thankful morning prayers
and later kiss forgiveness onto others
those eyes that speak long before
you open your mouth.

I see the way you talk to people.
Do you ever hear your new voice?
Your new tongue still struggling around the
potholes of the past. It surprises you
every time you say something that
reminds you of home.

I even see it in the way you love.

Didn’t your mother ever tell you that
all your wounds need to be nursed before
you let someone else kiss them?

Winter (the months I let you stay)
It is summer in your arms. You hold me and I become a tornado of cold air, dizzy at the thought of you, chasing after a reason to let you stay. It is summer in your eyes. I become a child on the beach, fingers webbed with juice from a pomegranate, face sticky with sweet promises. I look at you and I lose all courage to walk away.

***
A few days later we sit on a bench in a place unfamiliar with your hand folded into mine. The eyes, the smiles, the bodies, the twist in tongues, the people in the shops, the sun on skin, the breeze against face. I begin to speak of love and almost immediately I retrace my steps to a few weeks before asking myself under my breath, what brought you here? What made you want to stay?

***
Around you I become unforgiving to self. Eyes not beautiful enough, hair not smooth enough, skin also not enough to keep you from wanting anyone that dipped their hands in to the same bowl I took my insecurities out of. It is winter in your eyes, your hair, that skin, those lips. Anything that’s ever brushed up against me turns to ash. A phoenix of apologies that will never be enough. I retrace our steps to that day we spent in love in a strange town to ask you, what made you want to stay? You laugh, why would anyone ever want to leave?

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (4)
  • Pride (5)
  • Optimism (4)
  • Anger (2)
  • Delight (5)
  • Inspiration (7)
  • Reflection (7)
  • Captivation (6)
  • Peace (4)
  • Amusement (4)
  • Sorrow (6)
  • Vigour (4)
  • Hope (8)
  • Sadness (5)
  • Fear (5)
  • Jubilation (4)

Comments

  1. Darren!! Tortelduifie!! You are amazingly talented!! My mother doesn’t like poetry and even she cried a little bit and said it was AMAZING! I loooove you! Be a star xxx

    Maretha Swanepoel
  2. Darren, I am left speechless reading your poetry. The emotions behind your words comes through in the most extraordinary way, that I am moved to tears. Thank you so much, what an amazing feeling to read something so touching and full of feeling.
    Your friend in the U.S. Xo, GypsyRed 🙂

    Lisa Rozzi

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Darren Carolissen was born and raised in Stellenbosch, South Africa. He started writing at the age of 13. He started writing lyrics and eventually found his way to poetry. Since then he has been chasing this form of storytelling with a fierce passion.

Darren Carolissen

Biography

Darren Carolissen was born and raised in Stellenbosch, South Africa. He started writing at the age of 13. He started writing lyrics and eventually found his way to poetry. Since then he has been chasing this form of storytelling with a fierce passion.

My dearest country

Enlarge poem

My South-Africa
You have set yourself on fire
Hid secrets in your wounds
Split open at the seams
Dug in to with rusty fingers
They tried to claim you their own.

You have seen dark days; innocent
Blood like rain drops on your face, the smell
Of petrol burning flesh, all to be fair
In love and in war.
And in war did they take names in vain,
Did they inflict scars on your
Soil; enriched with stories that are untold
Yet to be learnt,
Yet to be courageous,
Yet to be believed in.

You have shielded
Men whose knees have never
Known the earth.
You have been both a refuge
And a refugee –
A source of tragic loss
And stupendous triumph –
An island to the shipwrecked,
An incarcerator of the dreamer and
An inspiration to the globe.

You have mourned the loss of mother
And of father, of daughter
And of son, of brother and of sister

And of children who will never die.

Featured Poem:

You and Winter (the months I let you stay)

Enlarge poem

You (with all your self-doubt)
I see the way you move in a room.
The way you quiet your skin,
and carry yourself like you don’t belong.
Swiftly you take flight around
but you are
careful of touch, cautious of feeling,
wary of being seen by anyone
who might not understand the curl of your hair.

As if you are not enough, you try to
make yourself more by looking like
the people you see on the television;
but you are enough with your sun kissed skin
adorned with promises of love
those lips that stumble over thankful morning prayers
and later kiss forgiveness onto others
those eyes that speak long before
you open your mouth.

I see the way you talk to people.
Do you ever hear your new voice?
Your new tongue still struggling around the
potholes of the past. It surprises you
every time you say something that
reminds you of home.

I even see it in the way you love.

Didn’t your mother ever tell you that
all your wounds need to be nursed before
you let someone else kiss them?

Winter (the months I let you stay)
It is summer in your arms. You hold me and I become a tornado of cold air, dizzy at the thought of you, chasing after a reason to let you stay. It is summer in your eyes. I become a child on the beach, fingers webbed with juice from a pomegranate, face sticky with sweet promises. I look at you and I lose all courage to walk away.

***
A few days later we sit on a bench in a place unfamiliar with your hand folded into mine. The eyes, the smiles, the bodies, the twist in tongues, the people in the shops, the sun on skin, the breeze against face. I begin to speak of love and almost immediately I retrace my steps to a few weeks before asking myself under my breath, what brought you here? What made you want to stay?

***
Around you I become unforgiving to self. Eyes not beautiful enough, hair not smooth enough, skin also not enough to keep you from wanting anyone that dipped their hands in to the same bowl I took my insecurities out of. It is winter in your eyes, your hair, that skin, those lips. Anything that’s ever brushed up against me turns to ash. A phoenix of apologies that will never be enough. I retrace our steps to that day we spent in love in a strange town to ask you, what made you want to stay? You laugh, why would anyone ever want to leave?

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (4)
  • Pride (5)
  • Optimism (4)
  • Anger (2)
  • Delight (5)
  • Inspiration (7)
  • Reflection (7)
  • Captivation (6)
  • Peace (4)
  • Amusement (4)
  • Sorrow (6)
  • Vigour (4)
  • Hope (8)
  • Sadness (5)
  • Fear (5)
  • Jubilation (4)

My dearest country

Enlarge poem

My South-Africa
You have set yourself on fire
Hid secrets in your wounds
Split open at the seams
Dug in to with rusty fingers
They tried to claim you their own.

You have seen dark days; innocent
Blood like rain drops on your face, the smell
Of petrol burning flesh, all to be fair
In love and in war.
And in war did they take names in vain,
Did they inflict scars on your
Soil; enriched with stories that are untold
Yet to be learnt,
Yet to be courageous,
Yet to be believed in.

You have shielded
Men whose knees have never
Known the earth.
You have been both a refuge
And a refugee –
A source of tragic loss
And stupendous triumph –
An island to the shipwrecked,
An incarcerator of the dreamer and
An inspiration to the globe.

You have mourned the loss of mother
And of father, of daughter
And of son, of brother and of sister

And of children who will never die.

Comments

  1. Darren!! Tortelduifie!! You are amazingly talented!! My mother doesn’t like poetry and even she cried a little bit and said it was AMAZING! I loooove you! Be a star xxx

    Maretha Swanepoel
  2. Darren, I am left speechless reading your poetry. The emotions behind your words comes through in the most extraordinary way, that I am moved to tears. Thank you so much, what an amazing feeling to read something so touching and full of feeling.
    Your friend in the U.S. Xo, GypsyRed 🙂

    Lisa Rozzi

Your email address will not be published.