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.