Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TOO MANY TIMES WE DIE

TOO MANY TIMES WE DIE  
© Farouk Asvat  

There are too many handwashing ceremonies
Too many graves to clean
Too many heads to shave
Black bands to wear

Too many times we go down
On our knees
In jubilation
Or supplication
We go down
Too many times

For the keepers of the flame
Think too often
Too close
To the keepers of the kingdom of hunger:

We are caught
In the past,
In gestures
That in the end
Mean nothing

As we die
Every day
In spite of the stale bread
Put into our mouths
And the hardness of our lives
The bullets still pass through

While wildfire love
Burns to ashes
And the hearth of love
Feeds patiently on our bodies
Flaming into a new warmth each day

As city fears sprout
And the rural nostalgia returns
Like the innocence of stolen fruit,
Hymns smelling of smoke and too many bodies
Or the memory of growing like mielies in the yard

Or first love returning
Like a good song
Hitting you in the chest

But love is a pain
We began to learn too early
As we grew older
As those that loved me
And laughed at my misery
Returned to miss me again
As I drifted away
Like a cloud within reach
A familiar smell in a strange place
Or the lives that pass us
In the night

But we will not cover our heads in ash

Too many times we have thrown loam
Over the fresh bodies of friends and strangers

Too many times we have laughed with fear
Too many times swallowed our hearts back
To where they belong

But through it all
A Black Christmas of rejoicing
The dusty storms of August
Through the cold mist of a working morning
Or the smoky smog that greets us home
We have learnt another bearing,
Defiance in the midst of slavery
Pride in the heritage of our selves
As the great drum,
Beaten leather of blood,
Talks to the night


© farouk asvat

composed: 1985 [Johannesburg, South Africa under apartheid]

[] Acknowledgements:

Too Many Times We Die was previously published in:

     A Celebration of Flames (donker, p65, 1987);
     Sesame 9 (Renoster Books, Johannesburg, p7, 1987);
     Dokumente Texte und Tendenzen VIII (Evangelische Akademie, Germany, p153, 1987);
     Matatu 3(4) ed G Davis, M Manaka (Göttingen, Germany, p183, 1988);
     A Celebration of Flames (Heller Fund, UC Berkeley, California, p55, 1988);
     Te Dikwijls Sterven Wij: Dutch translation by Irene Scheltes (1989);
     The Berkeley Poetry Review (Berkeley, California, USA, #23/24, p129, 1990);
     African Literature In The Eighties (Matatu 10),
          ed D Riemenschneider, F Schulze-Engler,
          (Rodopi, Amsterdam, Netherlands & Atlanta, p`, 1993);
     A Celebration of Flames (piquant publications, p85, 2007);
     www.faroukasvat-poems.blogspot.com (05.06.2012);
     A Celebration Of Flames (kindle, 2014);
     A Celebration Of Flames (amazon paperback, p83, 2014).

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
the NOVEL Sadness In The House Of Love by Farouk Asvat
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the NOVEL The Gathering Of The Storm by Farouk Asvat
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[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
the anthology A Celebration Of Flames by Farouk Asvat
is now available on amazon: paperback @ $10 & kindle @ only $5
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the anthology Bra Frooks … by Farouk Asvat
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the collection of literary essays Weapons of Words by Farouk Asvat
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© farouk asvat.  All rights reserved.

Farouk Asvat asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means whatsoever, or transmitted in any form or any means whatsoever, mechanical or electronic, including recording, printing, photocopying, or via any computerised means or media, including the internet.  This publication shall also not be stored in a retrieval system.  And the writing shall not be sold, lent, hired, resold or circulated in any form or binding or cover other than that in which it is published,
without the prior permission of the author in writing.
Permission to publish or reproduce the writings in any format can be obtained from the author.
Reproduction of this work without permission, except for scholarly & nonprofit purposes,
is liable to a payment of 10, 000 ren men bi or US$ 1,500.

farouk asvat can be contacted at: farouk.asvat@gmail.com

[] please check out my blogs @:





books by farouk asvat: www.faroukasvat-books.blogspot.com

[] also link up on:






amazon kindle author @ www.amazon.com/author/faroukasvat

_______________________________________________________
TE DIKWIJLS STERVEN WIJ  

     Dutch translation by Irene Scheltes

Er zijn teveel rituele wassingen
Teveel graven om the reinigen
Teveel hoofden om te dragen
Zwarte banden onm te dragen

Te dikwijls knielen wij neer ...
Jubelend
Of smekend
Wij knielen
Te dikwijls neer

Want de hoeders van de vlam
Denken te vaak
Te intens
Aan de hoeders van het rijk van de honger:

We zitten gevangen
In het verleden;
In gebaren
Die op het laatst
Niets beteken

En we sterven
Iedere dag
Ondanks het brood van staal
Dat in onze mond is gestopt
En nog steeds doodringen de kogels
De hardheid van ons levens

Terwijl vurige liefde
Verbrandt tot as
End de haard van liefde
Zich lijdzaam voedt met ons lichaam
Tot nieuwe warmte dagelijks vlammend

Ontkiemt in de stad de angst
En heimwee naar het platteland keert weer
Als de onschuld van gestolen fruit
Hymnen ruikend naar rook en teveel lijken
De herinnering aan groei als mielies op het erf

Of de eerste liefde die terugkomt:
Die je in het hart raakt
Als goede muziek

Maar liefde is pijn
Zo leerden we te vroeg
Naarmate we ouder werden
Toen zij die mij beminden
En lachten om mijn leed
Terugkeerden en mij weer moesten missen
Naarmate ik wegdreef
Als een volk binnen bereik
Een bekende geur op een vreemde plek
Of de levens die ons voorbijgaan
In de nacht

Maar wij zullen ons hoofd niet bedekken met as

Te dikwijls hebben wij leem geworpen
Over de verse lichamen van vrienden en vreemden

Te dikwijls hebben wij gelachen met angst
Te dikwijls onze harten weggeslikt
Weg van waar ze horen

Maar dwars door alles heen
Een Zwarte Kerst vol feestvreugde
De stoffige stormen van Augustus
Door de koude mist van een werkdag
Of de rokerige smog die ons thuis begroet
We hebben nog iets leren verdragen
Verzet temidden van slavernij
Trots op de erfenis van onszelf
Zoals de grote drum,
Uit bloed geslagen leer,
Spreekt tot de nacht

     Dutch translation by kind permission of © Irene Scheltes

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
the NOVEL Sadness In The House Of Love by Farouk Asvat
is now available on amazon: paperback @ $15 & kindle @ only $5
[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

#love #literature #fiction #novel #poetry #southafrica #apartheid #books #classics
#weapons of words #comparative literature #literary criticism
#faroukasvat #a celebration of flames #too many times we die

          www.amazon.com/author/faroukasvat 


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