Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Miracle

Enlarge poem

Winner of the 2012 EU Sol Plaatje competition

I wished for miracles when I was young
-like Thomas, who saw the stabbed
hands of Jesus, and slid his fingers
right inside His wounded heart.

There was the miracle of a man
who loved and wished to marry me;
yet, from another angle, this was
unremarkable. The inconceivable miracle

of our children – their lives arriving
out of mine – was also, strangely, ordinary.
The sacrament of marriage – which I had taken
to be flesh and blood – converted miraculously

back to paper, and, with surprising ease,
was lost. Then the nails, thorns, the long
strung stay; waiting for the ever-hopeful flesh
finally to surrender. A burial behind stone –

these things are commonplace. The year
of the third infidelity, third time denied,
my heart and sex stabbed, all that’s sacred
butchered, knived – the last day of that year,

it was still, and cloudless. I needed a tempest
to rage and scourge the pain, debride my hurt,
and with rain to re-annoint me. I might, even,
have prayed. That night, unseasonably,

light cracked the sky’s slate, and thunder rolled
the stone aside. Hot spats pattered; then water
drummed its fingers down upon the house.
I was re-made that night – composed

within the tender power of miracle.
Before the brave new year unsheathed its blade
in order to dispatch that which could no longer
serve, I went to urinate, and found that I had bled.

Dawn Garisch

Featured Poem:

All that Life

Enlarge poem

1. All that life: from first rank beginnings in the earth,
something stirred in matter; there emerged a drive
to animate the dirt – Surprise! – a brief ellipse called
life the breath arrived, then came the certain slide

back to sludge. A trick, endlessly repeated. Generations rise,
act, expire. The mud is packed with death. Again, the new
recurs: hopeful twigs root the sky, quick fish swarm beneath
swirls of birds migrating to merge with landscape. None

can escape the loop. Sprigs and wriggling nematodes
lift inspired shapes to glance above the mulch derived
from those who went before then die Layers of
life rest limp and crushed beneath the holy stone of time,

hidden from the spinning crazy round of sun and moon,
and left fermenting inside the warm barrel of the earth.

2. All that pain: the bloody, hacked-off limbs of war; those injuries
a lover’s heart sustains. Lives stocked with hardened grudge
or slow-cooked revenge. The bludgeon of recurrent thought,
or fuzz of the drug-smudged brain. The push towards

those things we love, and would not lose: an early lily, lush
in bloom; brass ensembles filling sun-bronzed rooms; a child
immersed, creating nests away from harm in long bush grass.
All this richness soon will pass, be lost, is already past, has gone.

The screw rotates again; with each turn the living thread goes
underground. All vital cells, all life’s vast loveliness, and all vile
anguish, is delivered back to silence, to rot, to fertilize the next
round of intrepid roots and sprouts, fiery heart- and limb-buds.

Sometimes, the aftermath of life sinks deeper into soil; lakes of slow
decay compose thick cuds of sleep and the dark prayer of oil.

dawn

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

Comments

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Dawn Garisch has had five novels, a collection of poetry Difficult Gifts and a memoir/popular science work Eloquent Body published. Both short stories and poetry have been published in anthologies, journals and magazines. She has had a short play and short film produced, and has written for television and newspapers. Three of her novels have been published in the UK.

In 2007 her poem Blood Delta was awarded the DALRO prize. In 2010 Trespass was short-listed for the Commonwealth prize for fiction in Africa, and in 2011 her poem Miracle won the EU Sol Plaatjie Poetry Award.

Her interest in interdisciplinary work in all art forms and psychology has led to her running both memoir writing and creative method courses. She is a practising medical doctor and lives in Cape Town.

Dawn Garisch

dawn
dawn

Biography

Dawn Garisch has had five novels, a collection of poetry Difficult Gifts and a memoir/popular science work Eloquent Body published. Both short stories and poetry have been published in anthologies, journals and magazines. She has had a short play and short film produced, and has written for television and newspapers. Three of her novels have been published in the UK.

In 2007 her poem Blood Delta was awarded the DALRO prize. In 2010 Trespass was short-listed for the Commonwealth prize for fiction in Africa, and in 2011 her poem Miracle won the EU Sol Plaatjie Poetry Award.

Her interest in interdisciplinary work in all art forms and psychology has led to her running both memoir writing and creative method courses. She is a practising medical doctor and lives in Cape Town.

Miracle

Enlarge poem

Winner of the 2012 EU Sol Plaatje competition

I wished for miracles when I was young
-like Thomas, who saw the stabbed
hands of Jesus, and slid his fingers
right inside His wounded heart.

There was the miracle of a man
who loved and wished to marry me;
yet, from another angle, this was
unremarkable. The inconceivable miracle

of our children – their lives arriving
out of mine – was also, strangely, ordinary.
The sacrament of marriage – which I had taken
to be flesh and blood – converted miraculously

back to paper, and, with surprising ease,
was lost. Then the nails, thorns, the long
strung stay; waiting for the ever-hopeful flesh
finally to surrender. A burial behind stone –

these things are commonplace. The year
of the third infidelity, third time denied,
my heart and sex stabbed, all that’s sacred
butchered, knived – the last day of that year,

it was still, and cloudless. I needed a tempest
to rage and scourge the pain, debride my hurt,
and with rain to re-annoint me. I might, even,
have prayed. That night, unseasonably,

light cracked the sky’s slate, and thunder rolled
the stone aside. Hot spats pattered; then water
drummed its fingers down upon the house.
I was re-made that night – composed

within the tender power of miracle.
Before the brave new year unsheathed its blade
in order to dispatch that which could no longer
serve, I went to urinate, and found that I had bled.

Featured Poem:

All that Life

Enlarge poem

1. All that life: from first rank beginnings in the earth,
something stirred in matter; there emerged a drive
to animate the dirt – Surprise! – a brief ellipse called
life the breath arrived, then came the certain slide

back to sludge. A trick, endlessly repeated. Generations rise,
act, expire. The mud is packed with death. Again, the new
recurs: hopeful twigs root the sky, quick fish swarm beneath
swirls of birds migrating to merge with landscape. None

can escape the loop. Sprigs and wriggling nematodes
lift inspired shapes to glance above the mulch derived
from those who went before then die Layers of
life rest limp and crushed beneath the holy stone of time,

hidden from the spinning crazy round of sun and moon,
and left fermenting inside the warm barrel of the earth.

2. All that pain: the bloody, hacked-off limbs of war; those injuries
a lover’s heart sustains. Lives stocked with hardened grudge
or slow-cooked revenge. The bludgeon of recurrent thought,
or fuzz of the drug-smudged brain. The push towards

those things we love, and would not lose: an early lily, lush
in bloom; brass ensembles filling sun-bronzed rooms; a child
immersed, creating nests away from harm in long bush grass.
All this richness soon will pass, be lost, is already past, has gone.

The screw rotates again; with each turn the living thread goes
underground. All vital cells, all life’s vast loveliness, and all vile
anguish, is delivered back to silence, to rot, to fertilize the next
round of intrepid roots and sprouts, fiery heart- and limb-buds.

Sometimes, the aftermath of life sinks deeper into soil; lakes of slow
decay compose thick cuds of sleep and the dark prayer of oil.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

Miracle

Enlarge poem

Winner of the 2012 EU Sol Plaatje competition

I wished for miracles when I was young
-like Thomas, who saw the stabbed
hands of Jesus, and slid his fingers
right inside His wounded heart.

There was the miracle of a man
who loved and wished to marry me;
yet, from another angle, this was
unremarkable. The inconceivable miracle

of our children – their lives arriving
out of mine – was also, strangely, ordinary.
The sacrament of marriage – which I had taken
to be flesh and blood – converted miraculously

back to paper, and, with surprising ease,
was lost. Then the nails, thorns, the long
strung stay; waiting for the ever-hopeful flesh
finally to surrender. A burial behind stone –

these things are commonplace. The year
of the third infidelity, third time denied,
my heart and sex stabbed, all that’s sacred
butchered, knived – the last day of that year,

it was still, and cloudless. I needed a tempest
to rage and scourge the pain, debride my hurt,
and with rain to re-annoint me. I might, even,
have prayed. That night, unseasonably,

light cracked the sky’s slate, and thunder rolled
the stone aside. Hot spats pattered; then water
drummed its fingers down upon the house.
I was re-made that night – composed

within the tender power of miracle.
Before the brave new year unsheathed its blade
in order to dispatch that which could no longer
serve, I went to urinate, and found that I had bled.

Comments

Your email address will not be published.