Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

North and South

Enlarge poem

(upon receiving news of Chris Hani’s murder)

the sun has touched the leaves
soft dipped brush
september days shrink here
inch by inch

I sip morning tea
by the window
with a mad hatter
and a mouse

scrunch the first leaves
beneath my socks
sense signals
from chimneys above:

in the south
trees blossom
bodies burn
in streets

tears of a mock turtle,
spring rains down
on those who beseech and pray
for wonderlands
where words
come true

Marí Peté

Featured Poem:

Turning Six

Enlarge poem

Prescribed for the Gr 7 Syllabus of the Speech and Drama Association of South Africa, 2011-2013

Tonight the sea births a grapefruit moon.
Vanilla lilies bloom. The ceiling
goes see-through in her room.

She rises in a wispy gown.
Floats to the pond,
dips in her foot

then, for the first time,
ever so slow
webs
grow
between her toes.

She draws her breath, glides in –
strange words pour
through the gap in her teeth
into liquid night.

The earth rumbles.
Koi bellies glow.
Geckoes on the wall
turn into rainbows.
Sleeping monkeys stir in trees.
Moles mumble in holes.
Stars tumble through indigo.

In the morning she wakes
back in her bed, slips on a uniform,
shakes silver sprinkles from her hair.

At breakfast her dad grins,
her mom winks like the morning star:

“You’re old enough now to know.
Remember, though, out there
you’re an ordinary girl…”

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (3)
  • Pride (1)
  • Optimism (1)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (2)
  • Reflection (1)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (1)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (1)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

  1. Turning Six – resonates so strongly with me, as I have two daughters – whose imaginations way transcended their bedrooms. With gaps in their teeth, bedtime stories came alive and played out scenes like these in this poem. A magical mystery tour! Thank you Mari for sharing your beautiful and peaceful poem with us.

    Jane Digby

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Durban poet Marí Peté writes in Afrikaans and English. Marí was born and schooled in the Mpumalanga province in South Africa.

Marí wrote her Street Poems Collection while driving to and from various campuses of the Durban University of Technology where she has worked as an e-Learning specialist for almost twenty years. During Poetry Africa 2010, the Mail and Guardian described Marí’s performance of the poem Durban Taxi (a conglomeration of taxi names) as “a delicious success”. The poem Warwick Junction was shortlisted for the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award in 2012.

Various tensions and juxtapositions arise from Marí’s Cambridge Poetry Collection, which could be ascribed to the fact that the poems were originally written in Afrikaans, during the year before South Africa’s first democratic elections. Halfronde / north and south was written upon receiving the news of the death of Chris Hani.

Marí has published two bilingual poetry collections namely Amytis (2007) and Begin (2002). With Bianca Bothma, Marí was editor of Art for Humanity’s book Women Artists and Poets Advocate Children’s Rights.

Marí Peté

Biography

Durban poet Marí Peté writes in Afrikaans and English. Marí was born and schooled in the Mpumalanga province in South Africa.

Marí wrote her Street Poems Collection while driving to and from various campuses of the Durban University of Technology where she has worked as an e-Learning specialist for almost twenty years. During Poetry Africa 2010, the Mail and Guardian described Marí’s performance of the poem Durban Taxi (a conglomeration of taxi names) as “a delicious success”. The poem Warwick Junction was shortlisted for the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award in 2012.

Various tensions and juxtapositions arise from Marí’s Cambridge Poetry Collection, which could be ascribed to the fact that the poems were originally written in Afrikaans, during the year before South Africa’s first democratic elections. Halfronde / north and south was written upon receiving the news of the death of Chris Hani.

Marí has published two bilingual poetry collections namely Amytis (2007) and Begin (2002). With Bianca Bothma, Marí was editor of Art for Humanity’s book Women Artists and Poets Advocate Children’s Rights.

North and South

Enlarge poem

(upon receiving news of Chris Hani’s murder)

the sun has touched the leaves
soft dipped brush
september days shrink here
inch by inch

I sip morning tea
by the window
with a mad hatter
and a mouse

scrunch the first leaves
beneath my socks
sense signals
from chimneys above:

in the south
trees blossom
bodies burn
in streets

tears of a mock turtle,
spring rains down
on those who beseech and pray
for wonderlands
where words
come true

Featured Poem:

Turning Six

Enlarge poem

Prescribed for the Gr 7 Syllabus of the Speech and Drama Association of South Africa, 2011-2013

Tonight the sea births a grapefruit moon.
Vanilla lilies bloom. The ceiling
goes see-through in her room.

She rises in a wispy gown.
Floats to the pond,
dips in her foot

then, for the first time,
ever so slow
webs
grow
between her toes.

She draws her breath, glides in –
strange words pour
through the gap in her teeth
into liquid night.

The earth rumbles.
Koi bellies glow.
Geckoes on the wall
turn into rainbows.
Sleeping monkeys stir in trees.
Moles mumble in holes.
Stars tumble through indigo.

In the morning she wakes
back in her bed, slips on a uniform,
shakes silver sprinkles from her hair.

At breakfast her dad grins,
her mom winks like the morning star:

“You’re old enough now to know.
Remember, though, out there
you’re an ordinary girl…”

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (3)
  • Pride (1)
  • Optimism (1)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (2)
  • Reflection (1)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (1)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (0)
  • Sadness (0)
  • Fear (1)
  • Jubilation (0)

North and South

Enlarge poem

(upon receiving news of Chris Hani’s murder)

the sun has touched the leaves
soft dipped brush
september days shrink here
inch by inch

I sip morning tea
by the window
with a mad hatter
and a mouse

scrunch the first leaves
beneath my socks
sense signals
from chimneys above:

in the south
trees blossom
bodies burn
in streets

tears of a mock turtle,
spring rains down
on those who beseech and pray
for wonderlands
where words
come true

Comments

  1. Turning Six – resonates so strongly with me, as I have two daughters – whose imaginations way transcended their bedrooms. With gaps in their teeth, bedtime stories came alive and played out scenes like these in this poem. A magical mystery tour! Thank you Mari for sharing your beautiful and peaceful poem with us.

    Jane Digby

Your email address will not be published.