Sunday, 27 December 2009

Romanian translations of Wayne Visser's Africa poems

The following Romanian translations of my Africa poems were recently published in CH Magazine. Translation was by Mădălina Gane.

AFRICA MĂ CHEAMĂ

(AFRICA CALLS TO ME)


Africa mă cheamă

cu bătăile tobelor ei, ce-mi marchează zilele

şi cu vorbele poeţilor ei, ce-mi îndrumă căile,

cu exploziile valurilor, ce-i îmbrăţişează malurile

şi cu ropotele ploilor, ce-i îmbibă tărâmurile.

Africa mă cheamă

cu lacrimile mamelor, ce-i pătează solul

şi cu râsetele copiiilor, ce-i îmblânzesc chinul,

cu şuieratul gloanţelor, ce-i perturbă calmul

şi cu zarva străzilor, ce-i cântă psalmul.

Africa mă cheamă.

Sunetele Africii

sunt plânsetele pruncului uitat de lume,

care ne readuc în pântecul creaţiei

Sunetele Africii

sunt cântecele sălbăticiei neîmblânzite ale lumii,

care ne inundă urechile cu imnurile jertfei.

Sunetele Africii

sunt ţipetele temerilor agitate ale lumii,

ce ne imploră să acceptăm transformarea.

Sunetele Africii

sunt cuvintele profeţilor ignoraţi ai lumii,

ce ne arată că-n stea e salvarea.

Africa-mi vorbeşte

prin briza murmurului din bazaruri

şi prin bocetul telalilor atât de oropsiţi,

prin pânzele umflate ale pescarilor de pe mări

şi prin vuietul taxiurilor din amurg şi din zori.

Africa-mi vorbeşte

prin răgetele leilor tolăniţi de după-masă

şi prin râsetele hienelor din noapte,

prin a elefanţilor gălăgie armonioasă

şi prin agitaţia gorilelor nevăzute.

Africa-mi vorbeşte

Sunetele Africii

sunt biciurile sclavilor, ce-i bântuie trecutul

şi cântecele despre victorie ale celor liberi.

Sunetele Africii

sunt fărămiţarea celor ce nu pot dăinui

şi speranţele în noi posibilităţi.

Sunetele Africii

sunt şoaptele din zarva disperării

Oval: 39şi sunetele din labirintul celor pierduţi şi găsiţi.

Sunetele Africii

sunt notele simfoniei pe care-o împărtăşim

şi bucuria din tărâmul luminii şi al suntelui.

Africa mă cheamă

cu ţipetele vulturilor ce-mi eliberează sufletul,

cu tăcerea dunelor ce-mi linişteşte mintea

şi cu cântecul greierului, ce estompează timpul.

Africa mă cheamă

cu trosniturile focurilor, ce-i luminează cerul

şi cu freamătul frunzelor, ce-i foșnăie suspinul,

cu melodiile cântecelor ei, ce picioarele-mi saltă

şi cu pulsul inimii ei, ce-o face şi pe-a mea să bată

Africa mă cheamă.




AFRICA DE SUD:

POVESTEA UNUI DRAGON

(SOUTH AFRICA:
A DRAGON'S TALE)

Scoate fum, dragonul se trezeşte

Cască foc şi oftează cutremure,

Clipeşte furtuni din ochii lucitori

Scuipându-şi lava în potopuri.

Are spate arcuit din scoarţe schimbătoare

Şi labe cu gheare, falange din marne,

Are pielea graben din şisturi de bazalt

Şi încruntarea-i o crevasă din gheţar dezgheţat.

Pieptu-i cu ierburi mici şi cu ierburi înalte

Şi cu Marea Coastă ce se ridică de pe torace.

Cu un apetit cât Kalahari

Muntele Regat se înalţă în depărtări.

El cutreieră câmpii flancate de mare

Visând la comorile pe care la are

Cu aurul şi cu diamantele în tolbe

Bubuiturile bincuvântate pot să tune.


See original English version


SUNT UN AFRICAN

(I AM AN AFRICAN)

Sunt un african

Nu pentru că m-am născut aici

Ci pentru că inima-mi bate cu cea a Africii.

Sunt un african

Nu pentru că am pielea neagră

Ci pentru că mintea mi-e unită cu Africa.

Sunt un african

Nu pentru că trăiesc pe acest pământ

Ci pentru că sufletu-mi îşi are căminul în Africa.

Când Africa îşi plânge copiii,

Pomeţii-mi sunt udaţi de lacrimi.

Când Africa îşi onorează vârstnicii,

Capul mi se pleacă în semn de respect.

Când Africa îşi plânge victimele,

Mâinile mi se împreunează în rugăciune.

Când Africa îşi celebrează victoriile,

Picioarele-mi prind viaţă în dans.

Sunt un african

Pentru că cerul ei albastru îmi taie respiraţia

Şi pot spera într-un viitor mai luminos.

Sunt un african

Pentru că oamenii ei mă primesc ca pe unul de-ai lor

Şi mă învaţă ce înseamnă o comunitate.

Sunt un african

Pentru că sălbăticia ei îmi potoleşte sufletul

Şi mă apropie de esenţa vieţii.

Când muzica Africii se aude în vânt,

Sângele-mi pulsează în ritmul ei

Şi devin sunet pur.

Când culorile Africii strălucesc în soare,

Simţurile mi se îmbată din curcubeu

Şi devin paleta de culori a naturii.

Când poveştiile Africii răsună în jurul focului,

Picioarele mele păşesc pe aceleaşi căi

Şi mă transform în amprentele istoriei.

Sunt un african

Pentru că ea este leagănul în care ne-am născut

Şi pentru că păstrează o înţelepciune străveche.

Sunt un african

Pentru că ea trăieşte în umbra lumii

Şi pentru că emană o izbucnire de lumină.

Sunt un african

Pentru că ea e pământul de mâine

Şi-i consider darurile ca fiind sacre.


See original English version

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Sahara by Wayne Visser

SAHARA

By Wayne Visser


A silky dust devours the miles ahead

Between the barely living and the dead

The thirsty sun sucks every dewy drop

Up from the bare-ribbed sand dunes’ barren crop


Yet strung across the shimmering mirage

A silent camel-beaded entourage

Comes bearing treasured spices, oils and balms

To green oases under shaded palms


Along these trails our history is told

As stories trade and mysteries unfold

Connecting East and West in common cause

And teaching from the book of Nature’s laws


Creative Commons 2009

Friday, 4 December 2009

The Lost Children

Small pink-bellied hands
like thirsty tongues
licking at my heart,
and brown eyes sad
beyond my understanding.

They break me, these small dark
children of the narrow streets,
These wisps of wild uncared for lives-
Round grey balls for knees,
and skin as rough as sun-dried leather.
They sniff, they shout, they smile,
There is joy like spilled sunshine,
There is life- run, jump, fall-
And never cry.

Where is their pain?
The same sun warms their sun-dried skins
As shines upon my garden wall
And makes the diamonds dance
In a million scattered drops
That flow from my sweet scented fountain.

Those drops that fall
And dry to nothing
on the hot white concrete floor,
Do they sparkle any the less
Before they fall?

Fiona Jamieson

Friday, 20 November 2009

Women of Africa (video)

I was meant to attend the "Destiny Dinner" in London on Saturday, organised by Zimbabwean Yvonne Marimo, and read this poem, which I composed especially for the event. Unfortunately, work has taken me to Azerbaijan and I am unable to attend in person.

So I recorded this video of me reading the poem, which will be shown. The sound-sync is a bit out - probably something to do with the fact that I recorded it in a hotel in Tbilisi, Georgia - but hopefully you get the idea. For more information, see www.destinydinners.com.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Call for Submissions on Africa: A Journal of Artful Candor

Aunt Chloe: A Journal of Artful Candor

Aunt Chloe: A Journal of Artful Candor is calling for submissions for its upcoming 2010 issue. Aunt Chloe, formerly Focus magazine, is Spelman College’s oldest literary publication. We favor work that tackles issues of the political, personal, mundane and earth-shattering in artful and candid ways, with the intent of illuminating the overlooked and the disregarded.

We are also accepting submissions for our special “Africa” segment. We will feature African artists, writers, and poets who, through their work, tackle social, political and cultural issues.

Aunt Chloe accepts poetry, visual art, photography, fiction, and nonfiction via e-mail only. Please visithttp://auntchloe.blogspot.com for submission instructions and guidelines. The deadline for submission is January 15, 2010. Please email your submissions to auntchloe@gmail.com .

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Free Falling

FREE FALLING
By Wayne Visser

Over the edge
At World’s End
And Adventure’s Beginning

Free
Falling
Unfixed and unnerved
With emotions jangled and raw
Past ties tangled
Taught and stretching
Fraught and frightening
Swan-diving into my fear
Cloud-riding

Free
Falling
Towards the promise
The hope
Of a New World
The scope to explore
To learn
To burn the fire of knowing
To feel the tug of growing

Free
Falling
Throwing the rope
That reaches across
Weaving the bridge
That breaches beyond
The restless ruthless tide
Of need amidst plenty
And want that is empty

Free
Falling
Straining to hear
My calling
My bliss
Somewhere in the mist
Over the edge
At World’s End
And Adventure’s Beginning

(2009)

Friday, 2 October 2009

Where I come from

I come from a place so far away
Where the people are friendly
And children play
Where poverty’s rife
And life can be tough
Where I come from so far away

Smiles so wide and teeth very bright
But why
You may ask
Where poverty’s rife
And life can be tough
Where I come from so far away

There’s a lesson here which can be learned
For all the world concerned
Where poverty’s rife
And life can be tough
Where I come from so far away

No matter the hardship
Nor life of decay
Where poverty’s rife
And life can be tough
Yet the people still smile
Where I come from so far away

Donna Steward
2009

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Hope


Sweet chocolate children

Dipped in honeyed sun

Doughnut dandy,

Laughter on the run


Small hand round my finger

Dark on light

Dappled shade

Bright rainbows of the night


Sweet my children

Africa’s new seed

Grow in beauty

Where the brave have bled


From the bones

Of tragedy and pain

Build the ladder

To the stars again


Pushing petals outward

To the sun

Sweet my children

Hope at last begun


Fiona Jamieson

2007

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Women of Africa by Wayne Visser

WOMEN OF AFRICA
By Wayne Visser

Women of Africa
In the land of bow and spear
Of chieftain and warrior
Of hunter and hunted
You are the silent gatherer
The unsung provider
The hidden basket
We raise you up
And speak your praise

In the shifting sands of power
You are the pyramid of constancy
Standing firm
Against the fierce winds of time

On the endless plains of possibility
You are the gentle matriarch
Leading the way
Through the fickle seasons of life

In the thirsty dust of desperation
You are the baobab of sustenance
Rooted deep
In the quenching earth of faith

You gather the tears of the world
And in the midst of mourning
You find reason to smile

You gather the tribes of the world
And in the chaos of squabbling
You sow seeds of community

You gather the stories of the world
And in the firelight of remembrance
You keep the spirit burning

Women of Africa
The music of every place
Moves to your swaying hips
And shakes to your stamping feet

Women of Africa
The children of every time
Suckle on your ample bosom
And fall asleep to your lullaby

Women of Africa
The victims of every tragedy
Seek solace in your arms
And find comfort in your voice

You gather the light of the world
And in the darkest caves of evil
You spread your luminescence

You gather the orphans of the world
And in the villages of your heart
You give them a place called home

You gather the elders of the world
And in the sacred councils of trust
You show us a better way

When our past dries to a trickle
You are the river delta
That reunites our memories
With the sea of history

When our days are drought stricken
You are the tireless pestle
That grinds our hardship
Into the flour of wisdom

When our future lies in shadow
You are the wild prophetess
That divines our destiny
In the pattern of bones

Women of Africa
In a world of folly and fear
Of division and diversion
Of begetting and forgetting
You are the mighty gatherer
The harvester of wholeness
The maker of peace
We honour you this day
And forever more

(2009)

Sunday, 16 August 2009

South Africa

14th August used to be Afrikaans Language day in South Africa... "previously". I try to celebrate it each year with a poem about my language or my country. This year, I've done one on South Africa. On this link you can read interesting facts about South Africa, enjoy some beautiful images which I describe in my poem and also listen to a few Afrikaans songs and lastly, enjoy some beautiful poetry-art by a South African artist. On the same link you can read my poem about Afrikaans in my 2008-entry.

Suid-Afrika: my land

Jy’s indrukwekkend, manjifiek
jou sondeurdrenkte landskappe
weerkaats helder beelde in my siel
jou pragtige wonders flikker oneindig
lank in die stilte van jou nagrus

Mount Aux Sources – so elegant en grasieus
verrys jy vanuit die voetheuwels, soos
‘n fakkel by die Spele ets jy lekkende
beelde teen die muur van my geheue
en voel ek jou hitte gloeiend teen my hart

O Blyde! ek fantaseer oor jou
magiese kragte wat jy sorgloos
en galant in die galery van my
stille gemoed stilletjies uitpak terwyl
my dawerende applous eggo
oor die velde van my gedagtes

Moederstad! hoe inskiklik laat jy my
telkens hakkel wanneer ek my herinneringe
sagkens koester – jou fasades!
waar ek jou gambiet betree
en gewillig my pionne oorgee

En saans voel ek jou fluweelagtige
skoonheid van elke sonsondergang
stadig neerdaal in my gemoed terwyl
ek stadig drink van jou geloofs-fonteine
wat borrellend bruis in oorvloed

Fragmentaries vier ek feeste
ek dans en omhels jou en jy -
jy blus my gees telkens met jou
magiese heildronke: een-vir-een
op ‘n toekoms – wat mag wees!
–Nikita –14/8/09 14:00

Monday, 15 June 2009

Gone Too Soon

GONE TOO SOON
By Wayne Visser

Like a raven in the night
You’ve taken flight
Taken flight
Towards the light

Like a sliver of the moon
You’re gone too soon
Gone too soon
With one last swoon

Like a current in the stream
You’re flowing free
Flowing free
Towards the sea

Like the whisper of a sigh
You’ve bid goodbye
Bid goodbye
With one last why

Like a rainbow in the mist
You’re dearly missed
Dearly missed
Forever missed

Creative Commons License 2007

Watch on Youtube
(Instrumental): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jjHCYFIN4I
(Read by the author): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laSkFB1NqQo

In Memoriam: Margaret Legum
http://www.mg.co.za/article/2007-11-02-journalist-margaret-legum-passes-away

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Everyday Inspiration launches

I've decided to have a separate blog to share "everyday inspiration" - a daily dose of creativity, drawn from my poetry, art, quotes and prose. http://everydayinspired.blogspot.com. You can also follow this on Twitter (everydayinspire) and Facebook (Everyday Inspiration group). I hope to see you there!

In the spirit of the muse
Wayne

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Life in Pieces by Wayne Visser

LIFE IN PIECES

I. Paradise

My life was full
Crammed and spammed and jammed
Full of stuff and puff
Beyond enough
There were people to meet
Faces to greet
Hands to shake
Deals to make
No time to take a break
From the busyness of it all
The deadlines and budgets
The headlines and fudge-its
And that’s not even counting
The mounting expectations
And ladder climbing
To great destinations
Until the day
It all gave way

II. Disquiet

My life was full
A trumpeting horn of plenty
But gently
The cracks appeared
And what I feared
Came creeping
Seeping
Through the floors, the doors
And every gap in my crowded days
A shrouded haze of discontent
Malevolent
In silent ways
Sowing seeds of destruction
Growing weeds of corruption
Like the gnawing rust of years
And the clawing dust in gears
Like trickling sand
That’s how it began

III. Descent

My life was full
Then in a flash it crashed
And I was dashed
On rocks of shame
My ego smashed
By waves of blame
Nothing would ever be the same
I clutched at straws
And heard them snap
I ran through doors
Into a trap
A maze of dead-end rescue plans
A band of thieves and rival clans
I fled
I bled
And every thread I grabbed
Unravelled only more
Of what my life had been before

IV. Disintegration

My life was in pieces
Shattered and splattered
And scattered to the winds
Of indifference
Amazed, I gazed around and saw
Shards of love
Unspoken
Now broken
Stunned and numbed, I kicked
A fragment of work
Once polished
Now demolished
I did not have the heart
To start
To pick them up
Those pieces of me
Torn apart
So I just let them be

V. Despair

My life was empty
Weary
Dreary
Eerie
With shadows shifting, demons drifting
Yelling in my head:
I should be dead!
What’s the point? Just look around
Not a sound
Not a soul
None to console
No goal
No get-up-and-go
No flow
On life’s stage, this page
Is stained and torn
Time to get out of town
Time to bring my curtain down

VI. Desperation

My life was empty
My hand and the gun were one
My finger, the trigger
The barrel seemed bigger
From close up
Everything else was far away
All the things I’d done
The battles won
The hollow acclaim
The pride in my name
My faraway life with my faraway wife
These were things from a distant land
And a living past
Now fading fast
Now, close to hand
A squeeze on the gun
Then the sun
Broke through

VII. Redemption

My life was empty
It needed to be, for me to see
What life is worth
What can give birth through me
If I open up to a greater force
That invisible source
That fires the heart and inspires the mind
That quickens the spirit
And whispers ‘just do it!’
I’ve started again
Rebuilding my bridges
With paintbrush and pen
With family and friends
It’s more about people, less about reasons
Less about busy, more about seasons
Less about doing, more about knowing
My life is full
But not overflowing

We Could (new poem)

We could …

But what about consequences?

I’ve thought about it

And savoured the thought

Dreamed about it

And woke up still smiling

So, we could …

But what about responsibilities?

The thrill of beginnings

Leads to the ache of endings

Happy-go-lucky now

Means sad-and-lonely later

Yes, we could …

But what about expectations?

I’ve danced with images

And felt the beat of anticipation

Sung the very scenery

And heard nature join the chorus

No doubt, we could …

But what about destinations?

The paths of travellers

Cross, tangle and part ways

The stars of destiny

Seldom blink and shine in sync

We could …

But would we? And should we?

Sunday, 22 February 2009

What it means to be an African (TV interview)

Today, I did a phone-in guest interview on VoxAfrica TV's "Shoot the Messenger" dialogue on what it means to be an African.  I believe it will be published as a video recording on www.voxafrica.com. 

Apart from my poem, "I Am An African" - which you can see on my website, here are some of the pieces from Ben Okri and Thabo Mbeki that I quoted: 

Ben Okri – Mental Fight

The world is not made of labels. The world, from now on, will be made through the mind. Through great dreaming, great loving and masterly application.

Thabo Mbeki – I Am An African speech (1996)

I owe my being to the Khoi and the San whose desolate souls haunt the great expanses of the beautiful Cape

I am formed of the migrants who left Europe to find a new home on our native land. Whatever their own actions, they remain still, part of me.

In my veins courses the blood of the Malay slaves who came from the East. I am the grandchild who lays fresh flowers on the Boer graves at St Helena and the Bahamas.

I come of those who were transported from India and China, whose being resided in the fact, solely, that they were able to provide physical labour, who taught me that we could both be at home and be foreign.

Being part of all these people, and in the knowledge that none dare contest that assertion, I shall claim that - I am an African.

Ben Okri – A Way of Being Free

The fact is that all organic things of single strain have short histories. Obsessions about purity of blood have wiped out empires.

We are all of us mixtures, and our roots are fed from diverse and forgotten places. The Yorubas of Nigeria trace their origins to the Middle East; some anthropologists claim that the real aborigines of Africa are the Bushmen of the Kalahari … the ancient Egyptians were black as well as dun-coloured.

This is the history of bodies. The histories of civilizations is even more eclectic.

My poem is on: http://www.waynevisser.com/poem_i_am_an_african.htm

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Poem on Obama's Inauguration


THIS DAY: THE INAUGURATION OF BARACK OBAMA

This day
Is not just any day
It is a day of days
A day of a lifetime
An epoch making day
At a time that cries out
For new beginnings

This day
Is a watershed day
A day that separates
Yesterday from today
And today from tomorrow
On a mindless march of days
That needed breaking

This day
Is a day to be marked
As something remarkable
A day to be celebrated
As something joyful
A day to be remembered
As something historic

This day
Is a tribute to the past
With its sacrifices of so many
A blessing for the present
Amidst looming clouds of despair
And a vision for the future
Welcomed with an open hand

This day
Is not the struggle's end
But the journey's beginning
It is not the death of prejudice
But the life of possibility
It is not the end of nights
But the start of days

This day
Is not so much a forging ahead
As a long overdue catching up
With changes at last
That begin to give life
To time-honoured ideals
And flickering hopes

This day
Is a day of coming together
When power meets responsibility
And rhetoric meets action
It is a day of empowerment
When the voiceless are heard
And the marginal become mainstream

This day
Is a day of reconciliation
When the past is laid to rest
And the future is awakening
It is a day of prodigals
When the lost find their way home
And a nation rejoins the world

Wayne Visser
20 January 2009