Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

SWAN

Enlarge poem

The baritone shifts his voice to a tight-held
tremulous counter-tenor.
I murmur to my partner, ‘The swan,
roasting on the spit.’

And when we meet him in the foyer,
‘I liked the one,’ she says to the singer,
‘about the swan. I too have revolved
over that fire.’

She points out the pianist to me. ‘She
was married to the conductor. Is still,
perhaps. They hit a rough patch –
it’s endemic.’

Later, on the walk up to our cars
parked near the gate – ‘D’you know that swans
mate for life? When I married, a symbol.
And look at me, now.’

I look at her. She is, I suppose,
no great beauty. Time
that eroded her mate’s fidelity
has etched her flesh;

and yet, she carries herself with the grace –
yes, with the bright mystery –
of the white swan gliding still
over dark water.

Lionel Murcott

Featured Poem:

Ted Hughes Is Dead

Enlarge poem

He was hard
as frost, as frozen earth

compact as stone, rough-grained
as granite

vulnerable as a bud opening
in a gale

or as a still-slippery
newborn foal

Who will bash our breaths out in one
short foxglove line

electrocute the river of our veins
with a hooked salmon’s flash

twist the way we’d seen a lark
to a manic floating spark

fire a frozen tractor into a gleeful
life

now that Ted Hughes
is dead?

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

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Biography

Lionel Murcott was born in 1947 in the (then) Northern Transvaal. He studied at Natal University and the Johannesburg Art Foundation. He is a practicing artist who has taught art most of his adult life. His poems have been published in various magazines and books, notably the poetry CD Purple Light Mirror in the Mud, 5 Poetry, and A Private Part.

Lionel Murcott

Biography

Lionel Murcott was born in 1947 in the (then) Northern Transvaal. He studied at Natal University and the Johannesburg Art Foundation. He is a practicing artist who has taught art most of his adult life. His poems have been published in various magazines and books, notably the poetry CD Purple Light Mirror in the Mud, 5 Poetry, and A Private Part.

SWAN

Enlarge poem

The baritone shifts his voice to a tight-held
tremulous counter-tenor.
I murmur to my partner, ‘The swan,
roasting on the spit.’

And when we meet him in the foyer,
‘I liked the one,’ she says to the singer,
‘about the swan. I too have revolved
over that fire.’

She points out the pianist to me. ‘She
was married to the conductor. Is still,
perhaps. They hit a rough patch –
it’s endemic.’

Later, on the walk up to our cars
parked near the gate – ‘D’you know that swans
mate for life? When I married, a symbol.
And look at me, now.’

I look at her. She is, I suppose,
no great beauty. Time
that eroded her mate’s fidelity
has etched her flesh;

and yet, she carries herself with the grace –
yes, with the bright mystery –
of the white swan gliding still
over dark water.

Featured Poem:

Ted Hughes Is Dead

Enlarge poem

He was hard
as frost, as frozen earth

compact as stone, rough-grained
as granite

vulnerable as a bud opening
in a gale

or as a still-slippery
newborn foal

Who will bash our breaths out in one
short foxglove line

electrocute the river of our veins
with a hooked salmon’s flash

twist the way we’d seen a lark
to a manic floating spark

fire a frozen tractor into a gleeful
life

now that Ted Hughes
is dead?

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

SWAN

Enlarge poem

The baritone shifts his voice to a tight-held
tremulous counter-tenor.
I murmur to my partner, ‘The swan,
roasting on the spit.’

And when we meet him in the foyer,
‘I liked the one,’ she says to the singer,
‘about the swan. I too have revolved
over that fire.’

She points out the pianist to me. ‘She
was married to the conductor. Is still,
perhaps. They hit a rough patch –
it’s endemic.’

Later, on the walk up to our cars
parked near the gate – ‘D’you know that swans
mate for life? When I married, a symbol.
And look at me, now.’

I look at her. She is, I suppose,
no great beauty. Time
that eroded her mate’s fidelity
has etched her flesh;

and yet, she carries herself with the grace –
yes, with the bright mystery –
of the white swan gliding still
over dark water.

Comments

Your email address will not be published.