Into the Ocean

After seeing Black Butterflies (2010), I wrote this brief on the life of Ingrid Jonker, a South African and an Afrikaner poet that died trying to win the approval of her father, Abraham, an apartheid board censor that couldn’t manage to read her poems, taking so much speech as ‘political.’  “The lie of life”

In 1994, Nelson Mandela recited Die Kind (“The Child (is not dead)”).

Please feel free to point out any inaccuracies worth correcting.


Away from the bitter old man, beholden
  to politics of closing
  minds, mouths and borders.
The desperate desire of approval, debased
  in the eyes of her father, she is
  inspired to scrawl on the walls instead.

Holding for a proof proven fatal,
  she swims to make her escape,
  but is carried out to sea.
Against the current, she is swept
  into a passionate love
  with a warning and a dire cost.

There is hope, every now and then,
  but her smile is now housed in the pen,
  and patience manages to elude her.
In need of love, by any means,
  the song and dance, the whole routine,
  breaks her lover; she travels with another.

Wet wrists and broken glass, in pain,
  she’s met with padded walls,
  her smile now housed in her mind.
The hopes and dreams of tomorrow
  come faced with sorrow, finding
  ignorance without the bliss in Europe.

Crushed, she gives, her love given, gone,
  her work here is done,
  she can now rest with the sun.
In one final walk, she washes the pain
    into the ocean.


7 thoughts on “Into the Ocean

  1. Inaccuracy worth correcting… you have been nominated by me for the Versatile Blogger Award my friend. I don’t know what it means but to me you were one of the few I felt deserved recognition. Plus it’s been a hell of a long time since I have had time to come on here and say hello, so there you have it.


  2. Black Butterflies is bullshit. I knew Ingrid Jonker and her friends, so I can say it with some assurance. Nice poem, but each romanticization of Ingrid puts her further from our reach.


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