Tuesday, July 31, 2012

THE CONTRAST STRIKES

THE CONTRAST STRIKES  
© Farouk Asvat  

     on the 9th commemoration of 16 june 1976  

Yesterday:
In the rustic surroundings
Of the peripheral clinic,
Where hunger lurks
In the window panes of bleak houses
In the eyes of mangy dogs
On the backs of lean women
Picking wild spinach

We sat in the kitchen
Sharing anecdotes and tea,
The nurses and I,
Watching them:

Springbok Tours
Bringing a happy contingent of tourists
Looking through the safety of binoculars
From the distance of a hill
At the army of hippos and elephants
At the excited mobs with molotovs
Fired by the fiery emotions
Of their adolescent adventures
Mixed up somewhere
With the desire for freedom,
Who would not let these foreigners enter
Into their cauldron of violence:

They had to return
With pink faces and terrified eyes
To the security of their frightened homes
To the neon streets of the tense city
Where healthy girls flaunt bleached thighs
In funereal fashions of pin-up skirts,
Astrut in oblivion.

     Today:
     The pompous landlords gather
     All over the city
     In their happy best:
     A father's day picnic
     To watch implosions
     Of cooling towers:
     The concern for monuments
     And the passing of a lordship
     Etched on their bland faces,
     Sipping champagne
     On mayoral balconies

     The rearview mirror
     Reveals all
     As I drive to Regina Mundi
     Through the back roads of the townships
     To commemorate the death of thousands,
     The unknown soldiers of The Struggle

     The contrast strikes
     Like a hint of congas
     Invading a symphony of harps
     As tension builds
     And relieves
     Like a swell of tides
     Like clouds passing across a sunny day,
     As brightly coloured hippos
     Circle the church
     In a taunting carousel
     Of gleeful anticipation

     As the people come out
     Singing and dancing,
     Only to gasp
     With teargas-filled eyes

     As strangers emerge
     From their hovels
     With tearing eyes
     To offer wet cloths
     Dipped in salt
     To soothe our burning faces,
     My aching lungs
     Gasping for breath like a pigeon,
     As we laugh at each other
     At our common predicament

     The dull thud of rubber bullets
     The sharp crack of rifles
     Smoke rising from teargas canisters,
     A sneeze machine
     Announcing another explosion of gas
     Porcine faces laughing as they ride by

     As we run
     To safety again,
     Every house a refuge now
     Welcoming strangers

     But soon
     The children are out again
     Taunting armoured casspirs
     With little Black fists
     Filled with pride


© farouk asvat

composed: 16 June 1985 [Johannesburg, South Africa under apartheid]

[] Acknowledgements:

The Contrast Strikes was previously published in:

     A Celebration Of Flames (donker, p60, 1987);
     The Indicator (Caxton, p26, 27-31.05.1986);
     Saasm News 1(2) (SAASM, Boston, USA, p15, 1988);
     A Celebration of Flames (Heller Fund, UC Berkeley, USA, p50, 1988);
     Het Contrast is Treffend: Dutch translation by Irene Scheltes (1989);
     A Celebration of Flames (piquant publications, p76, 2007);
     www.faroukasvat-poems.blogspot.com (31.07.2012);
     A Celebration Of Flames (kindle, 2014);
     A Celebration Of Flames (amazon paperback, p74, 2014).

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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

_______________________________________________________
HET CONTRAST IS TREFFEND  
          bij de negende herdenking van 16 juni 1976  

     Dutch translation by © Irene Scheltes

In heel de stad
Komen Mlungu's bijeen
Op hun paasbest:

Een picknick op vaderdag
Kijken naar het neervallen
Van verkoelende torens:
De zorg voor monumenten
En de vergane glorie
Geëtst op hun minzaam gelaat
Terwijl zij van champagne nippen
Op balkons van burgemeesters

De achterkant van de spiegel
Legt alles bloot
Als ik naar Regina Mundi rijd
Door de achteraf-straten
Om de dood van duizenden te herdenken

     Het contrast is treffend
     Zoals het geraffel van conga's
     Die een symfonie van harpen verstoren

     Spanning groeit
     En ontlaadt zich
     Als het zwellen der getijden
     Wolken trekken langs de dag

     Als nijlpaarden in heldere kleuren
     Omcirkelen ze de kerk
     In een hoge carrousel
     Van een vrolijk voorgevoel

     De mensen duiken op
     Zingend en dansend
     Om dan naar adem te snakken
     Met ogen vol gas

     Maar vreemden duiken op
     Met tranende ogen
     Zij geven natte doeken
     In zout gedrenkt
     Om het branden van onze gezichten te verzachten
     - Mijn pijnlijke longen
       Snakkend naar adem als een duif -
     En we lachen elkander toe
     Om de hachelijke toestand die we kennen

     De doffe plof van rubberkogels
     De scherpe klik van geweren
     Rook die opstijgt uit traangaslopen
     Al s een niesmachine
     Kondigt een nieuwe gasexplosie aan
     Varkensgezichten lachen onder het lopen

     We rennen
     Opnieuw naar veiligheid
     Ieder huis een toevluchtsoord
     Dat vreemden welkom heet

     Maar weldra
     Komen de kinderen tevoorschijn
     Om casspirs uit te jouwen
     Met vuisten gevuld met trots

     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
[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

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#weapons of words #comparative literature #literary criticism
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