Spotlighting Pan-African Poetry

Biography

innocent wisdom

Enlarge poem

naive child
cradled in an old soul
tinged with
pain unmet
daydreams through indigo eyes
breath the mad reason
she often dances at dusk
to crush criticism
and constant cynicism
with her song of why?

poisoned by
perverted perceptions of truth
eyes assume
the colour of confusion
languished by labels
her sanity curdles

under a muse of secret stars
she smoothes suffering away
with free thought
and a heart is enraptured
by enigmatic emotions
streaming through
and from
and to her being;
invincible.

deafening calls of Pluto
fade like a feather
and only the sound
of imagination is heard…
please let me be

Toni Stuart

Featured Poem:

Ma ek ko huis toe

Enlarge poem

Ma,
ek ko huis toe
daai berg wat blou
oor ons stad le,
roep my;
in ie donke ure van ie nag
sy stem
praat my ore sag
en ie lied van ie suid-oos wind maak
lawaai in
my lee mag

Ma,
ek ko huis toe
my hart is vol van verlange
en ie trane wat soos klippe
oor my wange loop
le hard en swaar op my bors
en maak ie asemhaal moeilik

die vel onder my voete is afgeskeur
van ander lande
se paaie en ander mense
se pein
deurloop

Ek mis
ie see
en ie ruik van sout
wat voor ons voordeur le
op ‘n somer oggend
geswel met ie hitte

ek mis ie tonge en taal
van my mense
en hul stemme
wat plat oor ie woorde val

die bloed in my are
klop aan ‘n ritme
wat ek in hierdie groen land ie vind ie

Ma,
ek ko huis toe
daai berg wat blou

oor ons stad le,
roep my;
in ie donke ure van ie nag
sy stem
praat my ore sag
en ie lied van ie suid-oos wind maak
lawaai in
my lee mag

Ma,
ek ko huis toe
die grote wereld se tyd is verby
en ek wil weereens le
langs
jou sy

Translation:

Ma,
I’m coming home
that mountain towering
over our city like a blue hue,
beckons
in the molasses folds of midnight
his voice
softens the folds of my ears
and the south-easter
sings in b-flat
as it winds through my empty heart

Ma,
I’m coming home
my heart overflows with yearning
and the tears roll down my cheeks
like rocks
and pull the breath from my lungs
i have walked through the skin
on the soles of my feet
winding through another country’s streets
another people’s pain
I miss
the sea
and the smell of salt
that finds its way to our front door
on summer morning’s
swollen with heat
I miss the voices and words
of my people
and the way their tongues
hold words in their mouths: flat and rough then sometimes flat
and smooth
the blood in my veins
beats to a rhythm
I cannot find in this green land

Ma,
I’m coming home
that mountain towering
over our city like a blue hue,
beckons
in the molasses folds of midnight
his voice
softens the folds of my ears
and the south-easter
sings in b-flat
as it winds through my empty heart

Ma,
I’m coming home
it’s time to leave the world behind
now it’s you who
I want to lay
beside

ToniStuart

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (2)
  • Pride (3)
  • Optimism (1)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (2)
  • Inspiration (3)
  • Reflection (6)
  • Captivation (3)
  • Peace (4)
  • Amusement (1)
  • Sorrow (4)
  • Vigour (1)
  • Hope (2)
  • Sadness (3)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

Comments

  1. Hi Toni

    Oh I love your words and the feelings that rise as i read them. i will never forget your workshops and your grace filled encouragement. Thank you, Toni.

    Much love
    Ceri

    Ceri Baron

Your email address will not be published.

Biography

Toni Stuart is a poetry writer, performer and developer. Her poetry has been published in numerous anthologies including The Ground’s Ear (Quickfox Publishing, 2011) and Agenda Journal on Teenage Fertility and Desire (Unisa Press and Routledge, 2011).

As a performer she was part of And the Word Was Woman Ensemble, from 2004 – 2007, with Malika Ndlovu and the 2010 Ingrid Jonker Prize winner Tania van Schalkwyk among others. She has performed locally and internationally, at numerous events including Urban Voices International Poetry Festival in 2010, Bridgewater International Poetry Festival in 2013, and alongside UK poet Lemn Sissay in 2012. Her work uses poetry to interrogate a range of social issues such as the stories of place and displacement (The Calllings Performance as part of GIPCA’ Exuberance Project, Emancipation Day Commemoration at Reminiscence Theatre Festival), HIV/Aids (commission of Breath and Blood for University of Cape Town) and gender-based violence (Woman.Object.Corpse exhibition for Centre for African Studies, UCT).

She is the curator of Poetica, at Open Book Festival 2013 and runs The Silence That Words Come From – writing workshops that enable people to explore their own voice.

In 2013, she was named in the Mail and Guardian’s list of 200 Inspiring Young South Africans for her work in co-founding I Am Somebody! – an NGO that uses storytelling and youth development to build integrated communities.

Toni Stuart

ToniStuart
ToniStuart

Biography

Toni Stuart is a poetry writer, performer and developer. Her poetry has been published in numerous anthologies including The Ground’s Ear (Quickfox Publishing, 2011) and Agenda Journal on Teenage Fertility and Desire (Unisa Press and Routledge, 2011).

As a performer she was part of And the Word Was Woman Ensemble, from 2004 – 2007, with Malika Ndlovu and the 2010 Ingrid Jonker Prize winner Tania van Schalkwyk among others. She has performed locally and internationally, at numerous events including Urban Voices International Poetry Festival in 2010, Bridgewater International Poetry Festival in 2013, and alongside UK poet Lemn Sissay in 2012. Her work uses poetry to interrogate a range of social issues such as the stories of place and displacement (The Calllings Performance as part of GIPCA’ Exuberance Project, Emancipation Day Commemoration at Reminiscence Theatre Festival), HIV/Aids (commission of Breath and Blood for University of Cape Town) and gender-based violence (Woman.Object.Corpse exhibition for Centre for African Studies, UCT).

She is the curator of Poetica, at Open Book Festival 2013 and runs The Silence That Words Come From – writing workshops that enable people to explore their own voice.

In 2013, she was named in the Mail and Guardian’s list of 200 Inspiring Young South Africans for her work in co-founding I Am Somebody! – an NGO that uses storytelling and youth development to build integrated communities.

innocent wisdom

Enlarge poem

naive child
cradled in an old soul
tinged with
pain unmet
daydreams through indigo eyes
breath the mad reason
she often dances at dusk
to crush criticism
and constant cynicism
with her song of why?

poisoned by
perverted perceptions of truth
eyes assume
the colour of confusion
languished by labels
her sanity curdles

under a muse of secret stars
she smoothes suffering away
with free thought
and a heart is enraptured
by enigmatic emotions
streaming through
and from
and to her being;
invincible.

deafening calls of Pluto
fade like a feather
and only the sound
of imagination is heard…
please let me be

Featured Poem:

Ma ek ko huis toe

Enlarge poem

Ma,
ek ko huis toe
daai berg wat blou
oor ons stad le,
roep my;
in ie donke ure van ie nag
sy stem
praat my ore sag
en ie lied van ie suid-oos wind maak
lawaai in
my lee mag

Ma,
ek ko huis toe
my hart is vol van verlange
en ie trane wat soos klippe
oor my wange loop
le hard en swaar op my bors
en maak ie asemhaal moeilik

die vel onder my voete is afgeskeur
van ander lande
se paaie en ander mense
se pein
deurloop

Ek mis
ie see
en ie ruik van sout
wat voor ons voordeur le
op ‘n somer oggend
geswel met ie hitte

ek mis ie tonge en taal
van my mense
en hul stemme
wat plat oor ie woorde val

die bloed in my are
klop aan ‘n ritme
wat ek in hierdie groen land ie vind ie

Ma,
ek ko huis toe
daai berg wat blou

oor ons stad le,
roep my;
in ie donke ure van ie nag
sy stem
praat my ore sag
en ie lied van ie suid-oos wind maak
lawaai in
my lee mag

Ma,
ek ko huis toe
die grote wereld se tyd is verby
en ek wil weereens le
langs
jou sy

Translation:

Ma,
I’m coming home
that mountain towering
over our city like a blue hue,
beckons
in the molasses folds of midnight
his voice
softens the folds of my ears
and the south-easter
sings in b-flat
as it winds through my empty heart

Ma,
I’m coming home
my heart overflows with yearning
and the tears roll down my cheeks
like rocks
and pull the breath from my lungs
i have walked through the skin
on the soles of my feet
winding through another country’s streets
another people’s pain
I miss
the sea
and the smell of salt
that finds its way to our front door
on summer morning’s
swollen with heat
I miss the voices and words
of my people
and the way their tongues
hold words in their mouths: flat and rough then sometimes flat
and smooth
the blood in my veins
beats to a rhythm
I cannot find in this green land

Ma,
I’m coming home
that mountain towering
over our city like a blue hue,
beckons
in the molasses folds of midnight
his voice
softens the folds of my ears
and the south-easter
sings in b-flat
as it winds through my empty heart

Ma,
I’m coming home
it’s time to leave the world behind
now it’s you who
I want to lay
beside

How does this featured poem make you feel?

  • Amazement (2)
  • Pride (3)
  • Optimism (1)
  • Anger (1)
  • Delight (2)
  • Inspiration (3)
  • Reflection (6)
  • Captivation (3)
  • Peace (4)
  • Amusement (1)
  • Sorrow (4)
  • Vigour (1)
  • Hope (2)
  • Sadness (3)
  • Fear (0)
  • Jubilation (0)

innocent wisdom

Enlarge poem

naive child
cradled in an old soul
tinged with
pain unmet
daydreams through indigo eyes
breath the mad reason
she often dances at dusk
to crush criticism
and constant cynicism
with her song of why?

poisoned by
perverted perceptions of truth
eyes assume
the colour of confusion
languished by labels
her sanity curdles

under a muse of secret stars
she smoothes suffering away
with free thought
and a heart is enraptured
by enigmatic emotions
streaming through
and from
and to her being;
invincible.

deafening calls of Pluto
fade like a feather
and only the sound
of imagination is heard…
please let me be

Comments

  1. Hi Toni

    Oh I love your words and the feelings that rise as i read them. i will never forget your workshops and your grace filled encouragement. Thank you, Toni.

    Much love
    Ceri

    Ceri Baron

Your email address will not be published.