Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

Dar es Salaam & The Quiet Ones

Enlarge poem

DAR ES SALAAM
haven of peace
how your inhabitants appear
like threads
in a well worn carpet
of faiths

for everyone a place
and space on the pavement
if your one leg is shrivelled and small
you can still walk in dar es salaam
if you have a basket of oranges
and a knife
you have a steady job
on the boulevard

there you are combing
rind off fruit
holding out two bowls in your hands
in a sheaf of time
in dar es salaam
where the rich eat ice cream
on the skyline
up a marble stairwell and dance
in discos with smoke machines

where stowaways
land between travels
and sleep in the rotund hulls
of the great wooden dhows
pulled ashore for repair
stowaways who will leap down
from their vessels
take you out for tea
and talk to you about poverty

THE QUIET ONES
moon ceiling
sunrise door
opening onto a graveyard
i have seen tolkiens hobbits
they stand like old sandstone fence posts
amongst tall thatching grasses
under sandstone cliffs
caves in hills that floor the sky

look for the quiet ones
you will dream peacefully
by their side
or they will walk along the road
with you returning home
their faces still hidden their hearts
of stone are not easily swayed
will tell you we are all cast
from the light
like passing shadows over the earth

in her bright yellow house
a sunflower path leading away
she works through the night
on a kite that need not fly
in fields of poisonous berries
if she speaks
she will describe sweet red fruits
and the ships she is searching for
and the harbour
where they berth all going
east she is thinking about the east
like a leaning statue
at dusk
waiting for the tide
houses soon flooded by sand
they are leaving
the quiet ones

middle earth not a
holiday resort to linger
in all summer

Thandi Sliepen

Featured Poem:

The Field

Enlarge poem

there are strawberries i want to save
but there is no time
i count the hours like rows
of severed fruit
and elephant hearts
the day passes
a pulse of ringing bells
oma those last days
all you could eat were strawberries

a new south african flag is flying
over the lombardy poplars
above our village
a lone piet my vrou is calling
in the night
the weaver birds treading light
threading their hanging gardens
as i dream we are waiting
for the lion
to swallow the sun

in the heat haze i see the garden
that could be
each fork full a burden
and a blessing
if i dig deep i touch the black marrow
the original clay of this valley
i think we all have our own fields to dig
the kind of field
no gardener can dig for you
our own beds to make
to lie in
no maid can straighten

a new south african flag is flying
over the weeping willows
above our village
there is no moon
orange butterflies dance
around the blue skirts of the dams
as the old strawberry plants lie discarded
in the dust

as the caves cup the air
like the ears of the land
inquisitively listening
to us
to the sounds of our names
to the hadedas passing overhead
like the remnants of prehistoric birds
trumpeting like old men
who have just learnt to fly
to wake us
our fields are standing

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  • Peace (1)
  • Amusement (0)
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  • Sadness (0)
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  • Jubilation (0)

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Biography

Thandi Sliepen is a self taught artist living in the Eastern Free State. Born in 1971 in Mowbray, Cape Town she left South Africa in 1976 and immigrated with her family to New Zealand where she completed her formal education.

In 1990 she farewelled the antipodes and returned to Africa, first to Tanzania for 8 months and then back to her roots in South Africa. In 1992 Thandi met artist Martin Wessels and the stage was set for a life of Art. She moved into a cave on Martin’s property and started painting, sculpting and continued to write poetry prolifically.

Since then Thandi has lived and exhibited in various places around South Africa, New Zealand and the Netherlands. Thandi currently lives on a farm outside Ladybrand with her partner, photographer Glen Green and their two children.

Thandi’s website is www.glengreen.co.za/thandi

Thandi Sliepen

Biography

Thandi Sliepen is a self taught artist living in the Eastern Free State. Born in 1971 in Mowbray, Cape Town she left South Africa in 1976 and immigrated with her family to New Zealand where she completed her formal education.

In 1990 she farewelled the antipodes and returned to Africa, first to Tanzania for 8 months and then back to her roots in South Africa. In 1992 Thandi met artist Martin Wessels and the stage was set for a life of Art. She moved into a cave on Martin’s property and started painting, sculpting and continued to write poetry prolifically.

Since then Thandi has lived and exhibited in various places around South Africa, New Zealand and the Netherlands. Thandi currently lives on a farm outside Ladybrand with her partner, photographer Glen Green and their two children.

Thandi’s website is www.glengreen.co.za/thandi

Dar es Salaam & The Quiet Ones

Enlarge poem

DAR ES SALAAM
haven of peace
how your inhabitants appear
like threads
in a well worn carpet
of faiths

for everyone a place
and space on the pavement
if your one leg is shrivelled and small
you can still walk in dar es salaam
if you have a basket of oranges
and a knife
you have a steady job
on the boulevard

there you are combing
rind off fruit
holding out two bowls in your hands
in a sheaf of time
in dar es salaam
where the rich eat ice cream
on the skyline
up a marble stairwell and dance
in discos with smoke machines

where stowaways
land between travels
and sleep in the rotund hulls
of the great wooden dhows
pulled ashore for repair
stowaways who will leap down
from their vessels
take you out for tea
and talk to you about poverty

THE QUIET ONES
moon ceiling
sunrise door
opening onto a graveyard
i have seen tolkiens hobbits
they stand like old sandstone fence posts
amongst tall thatching grasses
under sandstone cliffs
caves in hills that floor the sky

look for the quiet ones
you will dream peacefully
by their side
or they will walk along the road
with you returning home
their faces still hidden their hearts
of stone are not easily swayed
will tell you we are all cast
from the light
like passing shadows over the earth

in her bright yellow house
a sunflower path leading away
she works through the night
on a kite that need not fly
in fields of poisonous berries
if she speaks
she will describe sweet red fruits
and the ships she is searching for
and the harbour
where they berth all going
east she is thinking about the east
like a leaning statue
at dusk
waiting for the tide
houses soon flooded by sand
they are leaving
the quiet ones

middle earth not a
holiday resort to linger
in all summer

Featured Poem:

The Field

Enlarge poem

there are strawberries i want to save
but there is no time
i count the hours like rows
of severed fruit
and elephant hearts
the day passes
a pulse of ringing bells
oma those last days
all you could eat were strawberries

a new south african flag is flying
over the lombardy poplars
above our village
a lone piet my vrou is calling
in the night
the weaver birds treading light
threading their hanging gardens
as i dream we are waiting
for the lion
to swallow the sun

in the heat haze i see the garden
that could be
each fork full a burden
and a blessing
if i dig deep i touch the black marrow
the original clay of this valley
i think we all have our own fields to dig
the kind of field
no gardener can dig for you
our own beds to make
to lie in
no maid can straighten

a new south african flag is flying
over the weeping willows
above our village
there is no moon
orange butterflies dance
around the blue skirts of the dams
as the old strawberry plants lie discarded
in the dust

as the caves cup the air
like the ears of the land
inquisitively listening
to us
to the sounds of our names
to the hadedas passing overhead
like the remnants of prehistoric birds
trumpeting like old men
who have just learnt to fly
to wake us
our fields are standing

How does this featured poem make you feel?

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

Dar es Salaam & The Quiet Ones

Enlarge poem

DAR ES SALAAM
haven of peace
how your inhabitants appear
like threads
in a well worn carpet
of faiths

for everyone a place
and space on the pavement
if your one leg is shrivelled and small
you can still walk in dar es salaam
if you have a basket of oranges
and a knife
you have a steady job
on the boulevard

there you are combing
rind off fruit
holding out two bowls in your hands
in a sheaf of time
in dar es salaam
where the rich eat ice cream
on the skyline
up a marble stairwell and dance
in discos with smoke machines

where stowaways
land between travels
and sleep in the rotund hulls
of the great wooden dhows
pulled ashore for repair
stowaways who will leap down
from their vessels
take you out for tea
and talk to you about poverty

THE QUIET ONES
moon ceiling
sunrise door
opening onto a graveyard
i have seen tolkiens hobbits
they stand like old sandstone fence posts
amongst tall thatching grasses
under sandstone cliffs
caves in hills that floor the sky

look for the quiet ones
you will dream peacefully
by their side
or they will walk along the road
with you returning home
their faces still hidden their hearts
of stone are not easily swayed
will tell you we are all cast
from the light
like passing shadows over the earth

in her bright yellow house
a sunflower path leading away
she works through the night
on a kite that need not fly
in fields of poisonous berries
if she speaks
she will describe sweet red fruits
and the ships she is searching for
and the harbour
where they berth all going
east she is thinking about the east
like a leaning statue
at dusk
waiting for the tide
houses soon flooded by sand
they are leaving
the quiet ones

middle earth not a
holiday resort to linger
in all summer

Comments

Your email address will not be published.