Gabeba Baderoon

Gabeba Baderoon
South Africa

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Gabeba Baderoon

Award-winning South African poet and academic who commands attention without needing to raise her voice, who knows half the art of poetry is pause and the space between the lines.


Gabeba Baderoon is a South African poet. She is the author of three poetry collections, The Dream in... More >

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War Tryptich

I. Accounting
The mother asked to stay.
She looked at her silent child.
I was waiting for you.
The quiet of the girls face was a different quiet
Her hands lay untouched by death.
The washer of bodies cut
away her long black dress.
Blue prayer beads fell
to the floor in a slow accounting.
The washer of bodies began to sing
a prayer to mothers and daughters.
The mother said,
who will wait for me.
(written after a newspaper article on the aftermath of the bombings on a holy day in Najaf, Iraq)
II. Father Receives News His Son Died in the Intifada
When he heard the news, Mr Karim became silent.
He did not look at the cameras,
nor at the people who brought their grief.
He felt a hand slip from his hand,
a small unclasping,
and for that he refused the solace of glory.
III. Always For The First Time
We tell our stories of war like stories
of love, innocent as eggs.
But we will meet memory again
at the wall around our city,
always for the first time.

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