Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

die eerste helfte

Enlarge poem

ie eerste helfte van die jaar is weg
soos ’n halwe brood na middagete vir twee
soos die stinkhout se blare buite my venster
en my drome vir die 151 dae

ons almal soveel 24ure ouer
soveel minute met asems en afval gevul
(lug water kos in lug water kos uit)
beloftes en grappe en oproepe gemaak
sms’e getik please call me’s gekry
en snags ons dae tot drome geremix
ons brein die dj van ons slaap

ons beweeg soos golwe deur die tyd:
my ma en pa haal swaarder asem
rufus verloor sy hare en sy blaf
en my broer trou in desember
ons sleur melankolies voort

die maan verlang na water
en trek ons tot ons breek
om uit te spoel oor die strande van hierdie laat dae
waar ons vir ’n asem lank soos seeskuim bly lê
voor ons deurskynend word
en wegsyfer in die sand
en van mekaar vergeet

Translation

This poem focuses on how we are inescapably bound to the passing of time, and ends with a comparison between our fleeting lives and the moments of white foam after a wave has broken on the shore.

Pieter Odendaal

Featured Poem:

Gebed

Enlarge poem

dankie vir die vetgatkonings
wat dans op die koppe van werkers
halflyf in die grond begrawe
die swart suits met troffels in hul hande
wat die verrottende mure van uitsluiting opknap

dankie vir styfgespande drade
wat flenterhande van uitvoerdruiwe weghou
en die grond wat ons steeds nie besit nie
die grond waar ons voorouers ontbind nie

dankie vir youtube video’s oor
polisiegeweld en bababangings
vir die shosholoza’s
die wakawaka ey ey’s
die de la Rey de la Rey’s
in die stadions van katarsis
waar ons juig oor mans
met breinskade en pt-broekies
wat mekaar opfok soos in die ou dae

dankie vir die hitsige verledes
wat ons soos bosbrande omsingel
die gebrek aan lopende water
waarmee ons nie die vure kan blus nie
en die enkeles wat steeds die woud besit

vir ons kinders wat jonk
soos die oggend reeds
hul koppe verloor
vir ons gryses wat droom
oor ’n tyd toe harte nog heilig was
en die styftrek van aortas om nekke soos toue
vir ons dooies wat snags
deur die strate van ons slaap toyi-toyi

dankie vir dit alles en u genade wyd
soos die gaping tussen paleis en shack

seën almal wat steeds hul properse
hande in onskuld was
en die boepe in beheer
wat ons vetgevoerde drome spitbraai
oor die gloeiende harte van gestorwe helde

in die naam van ons vergeefse voorouers alleen
amen

Translations

This poem is a satirical prayer thanking everyone who has helped to keep this country the way it is. It is simultaneously a diagnosis and indictment of the current state of our country and how far we still have to go to transform to a more just and equitable society.

Meiosis

I would like to use this opportunity
to thank your DNA
for its beautiful self-translations,
the cells that gather together
to build you,

for the high concentration of melanin
making pebbles of your eyes,
the keratin cultivating hairs
here and there,
your pores and their intoxicating whispers,
their breath like goose bumps.

Let me also thank
your bones for their support –
without them your muscles wouldn’t
hang like grapes in the vineyard of your body;
and your tendons, those cables exceeding praise,
that make you move so flawlessly

and keep me up at night:
the rhythm of your footsteps,
the grammar of your distant hands
and your face turning away from mine
like a poem’s last line.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

Comments

  1. Dankie Pieter dat jy die vonke laat spat! I have just discovered Badilisha Poetry – what an exciting treasure trove, thank you! – and (among others), Pieter Odendaal. Badilisha, please add ‘challenged’ to your list of emotions.

    Marie Odendaal

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Pieter Odendaal started out as a boerseun in Bloemfontein and has a BA and half of an abandoned BSc-degree. He is the co-founder and project manager of SLiP, the Stellenbosch Literary Project, which creates and nourishes analogue and digital platforms of creative engagements with words. The project’s website focuses on contemporary South African books, “poetries”, cultures and initiatives around multilingualism and translation. He also co-coordinates the popular InZync Poetry Sessions and high school poetry workshops with his partner in rhyme, Adrian Different.

He hopes to publish his debut poetry collection sometime soon. A handful of his Afrikaans poems appeared in Nuwe Stemme 5 (2013). In 2015, he’ll be studying things about sustainable development and how to save the world.

Pieter Odendaal

Biography

Pieter Odendaal started out as a boerseun in Bloemfontein and has a BA and half of an abandoned BSc-degree. He is the co-founder and project manager of SLiP, the Stellenbosch Literary Project, which creates and nourishes analogue and digital platforms of creative engagements with words. The project’s website focuses on contemporary South African books, “poetries”, cultures and initiatives around multilingualism and translation. He also co-coordinates the popular InZync Poetry Sessions and high school poetry workshops with his partner in rhyme, Adrian Different.

He hopes to publish his debut poetry collection sometime soon. A handful of his Afrikaans poems appeared in Nuwe Stemme 5 (2013). In 2015, he’ll be studying things about sustainable development and how to save the world.

die eerste helfte

Enlarge poem

ie eerste helfte van die jaar is weg
soos ’n halwe brood na middagete vir twee
soos die stinkhout se blare buite my venster
en my drome vir die 151 dae

ons almal soveel 24ure ouer
soveel minute met asems en afval gevul
(lug water kos in lug water kos uit)
beloftes en grappe en oproepe gemaak
sms’e getik please call me’s gekry
en snags ons dae tot drome geremix
ons brein die dj van ons slaap

ons beweeg soos golwe deur die tyd:
my ma en pa haal swaarder asem
rufus verloor sy hare en sy blaf
en my broer trou in desember
ons sleur melankolies voort

die maan verlang na water
en trek ons tot ons breek
om uit te spoel oor die strande van hierdie laat dae
waar ons vir ’n asem lank soos seeskuim bly lê
voor ons deurskynend word
en wegsyfer in die sand
en van mekaar vergeet

Translation

This poem focuses on how we are inescapably bound to the passing of time, and ends with a comparison between our fleeting lives and the moments of white foam after a wave has broken on the shore.

Featured Poem:

Gebed

Enlarge poem

dankie vir die vetgatkonings
wat dans op die koppe van werkers
halflyf in die grond begrawe
die swart suits met troffels in hul hande
wat die verrottende mure van uitsluiting opknap

dankie vir styfgespande drade
wat flenterhande van uitvoerdruiwe weghou
en die grond wat ons steeds nie besit nie
die grond waar ons voorouers ontbind nie

dankie vir youtube video’s oor
polisiegeweld en bababangings
vir die shosholoza’s
die wakawaka ey ey’s
die de la Rey de la Rey’s
in die stadions van katarsis
waar ons juig oor mans
met breinskade en pt-broekies
wat mekaar opfok soos in die ou dae

dankie vir die hitsige verledes
wat ons soos bosbrande omsingel
die gebrek aan lopende water
waarmee ons nie die vure kan blus nie
en die enkeles wat steeds die woud besit

vir ons kinders wat jonk
soos die oggend reeds
hul koppe verloor
vir ons gryses wat droom
oor ’n tyd toe harte nog heilig was
en die styftrek van aortas om nekke soos toue
vir ons dooies wat snags
deur die strate van ons slaap toyi-toyi

dankie vir dit alles en u genade wyd
soos die gaping tussen paleis en shack

seën almal wat steeds hul properse
hande in onskuld was
en die boepe in beheer
wat ons vetgevoerde drome spitbraai
oor die gloeiende harte van gestorwe helde

in die naam van ons vergeefse voorouers alleen
amen

Translations

This poem is a satirical prayer thanking everyone who has helped to keep this country the way it is. It is simultaneously a diagnosis and indictment of the current state of our country and how far we still have to go to transform to a more just and equitable society.

Meiosis

I would like to use this opportunity
to thank your DNA
for its beautiful self-translations,
the cells that gather together
to build you,

for the high concentration of melanin
making pebbles of your eyes,
the keratin cultivating hairs
here and there,
your pores and their intoxicating whispers,
their breath like goose bumps.

Let me also thank
your bones for their support –
without them your muscles wouldn’t
hang like grapes in the vineyard of your body;
and your tendons, those cables exceeding praise,
that make you move so flawlessly

and keep me up at night:
the rhythm of your footsteps,
the grammar of your distant hands
and your face turning away from mine
like a poem’s last line.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

die eerste helfte

Enlarge poem

ie eerste helfte van die jaar is weg
soos ’n halwe brood na middagete vir twee
soos die stinkhout se blare buite my venster
en my drome vir die 151 dae

ons almal soveel 24ure ouer
soveel minute met asems en afval gevul
(lug water kos in lug water kos uit)
beloftes en grappe en oproepe gemaak
sms’e getik please call me’s gekry
en snags ons dae tot drome geremix
ons brein die dj van ons slaap

ons beweeg soos golwe deur die tyd:
my ma en pa haal swaarder asem
rufus verloor sy hare en sy blaf
en my broer trou in desember
ons sleur melankolies voort

die maan verlang na water
en trek ons tot ons breek
om uit te spoel oor die strande van hierdie laat dae
waar ons vir ’n asem lank soos seeskuim bly lê
voor ons deurskynend word
en wegsyfer in die sand
en van mekaar vergeet

Translation

This poem focuses on how we are inescapably bound to the passing of time, and ends with a comparison between our fleeting lives and the moments of white foam after a wave has broken on the shore.

Comments

  1. Dankie Pieter dat jy die vonke laat spat! I have just discovered Badilisha Poetry – what an exciting treasure trove, thank you! – and (among others), Pieter Odendaal. Badilisha, please add ‘challenged’ to your list of emotions.

    Marie Odendaal

Your email address will not be published.