Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Sleep blues & Going through my father’s things

Enlarge poem

Sleep blues
As I was sitting here
the roof fell in, a cat
jumped out of me
and I found myself looking
at the world from outside me.
Midnight does this, too,
when emptiness
hangs from the sky. I stare
at a god whose headlamp
leans in to study me.
The far cry of misery comes
from another street
to tell me the health
of someone has found
death. I try to leap back
into my body before dawn.

Going through my father’s things

The documents my father left rustle inside the drawers
of his study, seeking prominence. I’ve come home
from Europe to help my mother sort this once and for all,
newspaper cuttings, one of which I sent to a Cape Town poet
who would know what thought had made my father keep it,
after we had classified everything; leaflets scattered
in drawers, and letters, letters of a plea to the world
to give his children scholarships, deep love letters
when he was courting my mother, before they left Morija
and went to Maseru. She says when she called me for help
these had started rattling the desk like a poltergeist,
and once, she recollects, she could smell smoke
coming from that room. Some of the papers were dusty.
But when we were done with it the room was tidy,
my father’s thoughts in hard-back files on several shelves,
like the books he was going to write. Overwhelming,
to sit here among his things, and pull a writing pad
forward, and find you have absolutely nothing to say
to the world. I pick the copy of a Reformed Church
Nicene Creed he once copied in longhand, and framed,
and remain in that dark room, seeking his meaning.

Rethabile Masilo

Featured Poem:

Mosotho dancer

Enlarge poem

I find her tonight, in a corner
of the street where rhythm rises
then crashes underneath our feet,
all those false notes of childhood
when in winter she sang herself to sleep
the song of students with no shoes,
notes suddenly flat now beneath bare feet.
There are false true notes at jazz concerts
I have listened to, many till their end
where they died, and there found
one must dance with them, painful
as it is, and hold in such meaning
the savour of their triumph of love
in a dynamic ritual of a last chance,
arms coiled in a martial stance
as the foot stamps last sounds out
of each note, and in twilight
make the brilliance come out,
and people home-bound after work
stop, watch, wash off their day toil,
faces hung around her, maybe to wall
the moment in, or wall another out,
in tune with her soul.

rethabile-masilo222

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (2)
  • Pride (4)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (6)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (4)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (1)

Comments

  1. And again a captivating addition that will keep our souls inspired and hopeful

    we are the songs of the soil feed us the word Mokhotla

    Lithapelo

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Rethabile Masilo blogs at Poéfrika and co-edits Canopic Jar. He is a Mosotho poet from Lesotho and enjoys reading and writing. Today he lives in Paris, France, with his wife and two children. His work has been published in various hard and soft-copy magazines, including Canopic Jar.

Rethabile was born in 1961 in Lesotho and left his country with his parents and siblings to go into exile in 1981. He moved through the Republic of South Africa (very short stay, on account of the weight of apartheid), Kenya and the United States of America, before settling in France in 1987.

In 2012 his first book of poems, Things That Are Silent, was published by Pindrop Press. The second book, Waslap, will be published in 2015 by The Onslaught Press.

Rethabile Masilo

rethabile-masilo222
rethabile-masilo222

Biography

Rethabile Masilo blogs at Poéfrika and co-edits Canopic Jar. He is a Mosotho poet from Lesotho and enjoys reading and writing. Today he lives in Paris, France, with his wife and two children. His work has been published in various hard and soft-copy magazines, including Canopic Jar.

Rethabile was born in 1961 in Lesotho and left his country with his parents and siblings to go into exile in 1981. He moved through the Republic of South Africa (very short stay, on account of the weight of apartheid), Kenya and the United States of America, before settling in France in 1987.

In 2012 his first book of poems, Things That Are Silent, was published by Pindrop Press. The second book, Waslap, will be published in 2015 by The Onslaught Press.

Sleep blues & Going through my father’s things

Enlarge poem

Sleep blues
As I was sitting here
the roof fell in, a cat
jumped out of me
and I found myself looking
at the world from outside me.
Midnight does this, too,
when emptiness
hangs from the sky. I stare
at a god whose headlamp
leans in to study me.
The far cry of misery comes
from another street
to tell me the health
of someone has found
death. I try to leap back
into my body before dawn.

Going through my father’s things

The documents my father left rustle inside the drawers
of his study, seeking prominence. I’ve come home
from Europe to help my mother sort this once and for all,
newspaper cuttings, one of which I sent to a Cape Town poet
who would know what thought had made my father keep it,
after we had classified everything; leaflets scattered
in drawers, and letters, letters of a plea to the world
to give his children scholarships, deep love letters
when he was courting my mother, before they left Morija
and went to Maseru. She says when she called me for help
these had started rattling the desk like a poltergeist,
and once, she recollects, she could smell smoke
coming from that room. Some of the papers were dusty.
But when we were done with it the room was tidy,
my father’s thoughts in hard-back files on several shelves,
like the books he was going to write. Overwhelming,
to sit here among his things, and pull a writing pad
forward, and find you have absolutely nothing to say
to the world. I pick the copy of a Reformed Church
Nicene Creed he once copied in longhand, and framed,
and remain in that dark room, seeking his meaning.

Featured Poem:

Mosotho dancer

Enlarge poem

I find her tonight, in a corner
of the street where rhythm rises
then crashes underneath our feet,
all those false notes of childhood
when in winter she sang herself to sleep
the song of students with no shoes,
notes suddenly flat now beneath bare feet.
There are false true notes at jazz concerts
I have listened to, many till their end
where they died, and there found
one must dance with them, painful
as it is, and hold in such meaning
the savour of their triumph of love
in a dynamic ritual of a last chance,
arms coiled in a martial stance
as the foot stamps last sounds out
of each note, and in twilight
make the brilliance come out,
and people home-bound after work
stop, watch, wash off their day toil,
faces hung around her, maybe to wall
the moment in, or wall another out,
in tune with her soul.

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (2)
  • Pride (4)
  • Optimism (0)
  • Anger (0)
  • Delight (0)
  • Inspiration (0)
  • Reflection (6)
  • Captivation (1)
  • Peace (0)
  • Amusement (0)
  • Sorrow (0)
  • Vigour (0)
  • Hope (1)
  • Sadness (4)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (1)

Sleep blues & Going through my father’s things

Enlarge poem

Sleep blues
As I was sitting here
the roof fell in, a cat
jumped out of me
and I found myself looking
at the world from outside me.
Midnight does this, too,
when emptiness
hangs from the sky. I stare
at a god whose headlamp
leans in to study me.
The far cry of misery comes
from another street
to tell me the health
of someone has found
death. I try to leap back
into my body before dawn.

Going through my father’s things

The documents my father left rustle inside the drawers
of his study, seeking prominence. I’ve come home
from Europe to help my mother sort this once and for all,
newspaper cuttings, one of which I sent to a Cape Town poet
who would know what thought had made my father keep it,
after we had classified everything; leaflets scattered
in drawers, and letters, letters of a plea to the world
to give his children scholarships, deep love letters
when he was courting my mother, before they left Morija
and went to Maseru. She says when she called me for help
these had started rattling the desk like a poltergeist,
and once, she recollects, she could smell smoke
coming from that room. Some of the papers were dusty.
But when we were done with it the room was tidy,
my father’s thoughts in hard-back files on several shelves,
like the books he was going to write. Overwhelming,
to sit here among his things, and pull a writing pad
forward, and find you have absolutely nothing to say
to the world. I pick the copy of a Reformed Church
Nicene Creed he once copied in longhand, and framed,
and remain in that dark room, seeking his meaning.

Comments

  1. And again a captivating addition that will keep our souls inspired and hopeful

    we are the songs of the soil feed us the word Mokhotla

    Lithapelo

Your email address will not be published.