October 3, 2015

Three Poems By Don Beukes: "The Storm", "The Sentinal", "Childhood Days"


I was born, raised and educated in Cape Town, South Africa in the last two decades of Apartheid and also have British and EU citizenship. Now a retired teacher of English, I am following my passion to write poetry and hoping to share my literal mentality with our global village, hoping to make global citizens check their moral compass now and then in an ever changing world. As a person of mixed race heritage, I want to share my experiences whilst growing up, living  and working in a totalitarian racist regime.







The Storm


A faint rumbling signals it,


Airflow spreads over infiltrating weeds,


Wildlife stirs,

Murmuring chaos anew,


Light fades as darkness craves,


Subtle resistance prevails


as oncoming mayhem sails


towards order and peace,


Promising no relentless release,


It tucks at your intake of air


as it sucks out life all around,


Your senses explode


as everything goes into overload,


A growl turns into a scowl


of electric light blinking bright,


Imploding clouds deliver a ghastly sight,


Air spits as nature vomits foul,


The storm


Our norm


Life relentless


Catapulting our senses…




THE SENTINEL


Anchored for centuries unknown


oh majestic Table Mountain,


You still watch over Cape Town,


Mother city over 400 years,


Witness to her violent birth,


Ever rising towards the heavens,


Only God harbors the truth


our struggle,


Surrounded by flora and fauna


a feast for any eye


amidst shards of piercing rock


raging icy waters


on blinding, silver sandy beaches,


Small groups of beach dwellers huddle


in your protective shadow


peacefully existing,


Indigenous language, culture


ensuring survival,


Wildlife competing


mercilessly deleting,


Disturbing murmurs rising,


You stare in awe


down below


wondering if harmony and love still aglow


or does hate and jealousy pierce your table cloth?


Centuries old sounds echo to your summit,


Cacophonies of voices confuse and amuse,


Lives changing emotions simmering,


Instinct erupting resulting in violent vomit,


Strangers infiltrate


creating fear and curiosity,


Their sails shredded


furthering foreign animosity,


Your beauty noted future plans made,


Greed their driving force,


Your shadow to fade.


The year 1647


the boat smashing on a foreign heaven,


Christened ‘Niewe Haarlem’ Holland’s pride,


It shakes against rock and unseen peril


ominously spilling onto your foreshore,


A dozen fleet of relief joins your grief,


The year 1652 Van Riebeeck sent to govern


greets local inhabitants,


Exchanges bring relief,


Their curiosity accepting,


Their bodies a fiery oven


your defenses down


your sight welcoming,


You marvel at their skills,


Blissfully unaware


of Armageddon to come,


The future disturbing,


Ideas clashing


Tempers gnashing


Negotiations unfair


initial plots of land bargained in 1671


Khoi clans clashing rebels shunned,


Culture poisoned


the deed cleverly done,


Dividing a father, mother, daughter and son,


Tribal heart lost creating cultural loss,


European domination overpowering


morale lowering,


Your essence diluted


young Khoi girls polluted,


Politics in motion


traditions no longer suited,


Khoi translators employed


healing the void


including Herrij, Doman and Kratoa


She, taken in by Jan as a child


her linguistic skills greatly valued,


Whispers cause discontent and doubt


between invaders and indigenous folk,


Eva’s legacy tainted,


emotions heightened,


You shudder through the chaos


manic moans,


French Hugenots arrive


causing further strife,


Your playground invaded


traditions faded,


They struggle to establish


Dutch courage too strong


forcing them to speak another mother tongue,


Their language suppressed


identity compressed,


Winelands offer a sweet escape,


Excluded,


Creating new identity


your shadow casting over them,


Countless Khoi destroyed by colonists


Your stones shiver


witnessing a cultural bloody river


others banished north halted by the San,


Possessions snatched


their fate sealed,


Slaves imported from afar,


India, Mozambique and Madagascar,


The Far East concluding the colonial feast,


Child of colour


born from a mixed mother,


You remain steadfast yet alert,


Depending on fair and humane hearts,


Sentinel for centuries even millennia,


Still a God- given


Centurion defender…




Childhood Days



Armoured in red flares
the seventies are filled with sounds anew,
Sunday rituals include church and sticky doughnuts,
Outside an angry wind blows sound abound,
Radio blasts out “Ring, Ring”
Who’s that mom? Abba their name son!”
My first taste of a foreign hit!
My second tongue
a fan so young,
The table laid in perfect culinary shade,
Table Mountain mocking
clouds frolicking,
Worlds apart from here on the Cape Flats,
Dreams begin
tumbling
taking hold,
Train squealing cuts through divided lines,
Mountain in sight
how beautiful
such majestic might,
Why are we riding in third class?” I ask
sister dear
dousing innocent fear,
Head shaking
no clear understanding,
Others looking at me weirdly,
I feel ashamed in the city,
My Cape
their city
such a pity!
The ‘bergies’ wreak
vomiting grief,
They beg with callous hands outstretched,
Who’s that?” Innocently inquiring intrigued
My hand tightly squeezed
pulled with ease,
Restaurant’s packed,
feeling alienated
where's our people?
Utensils provided
thrown rather trying to fight it,
Shouting, “what do you want?”
feeling shunned,
How rude!” I exhale,
Sister dear quelling my fear,
Others are looking at me weirdly
murmuring amongst them
eyes piercing
blonde heads popping up and down,
I smile at them
greeted by disdain,
Allowed into their wonderland world
must make the journey home again,
My mind racing,
Thoughts aimlessly pacing,
Still confused,
Sister dear attempting to amuse,
The train groans on split lines,
It eerily turns away, away
The mountain now a blue haunting hue
momentarily bathed in red
hazy orange too,
Safely entombed back home,
Murky memories remain,
What’s wrong with me?
Questions unanswered
tongue twisted,
Musical interference
temporary hindrance,
The sounds captivating
Ring, Ring”
Mamma it’s Abba!
Yes my child come help me,”
Leave that rowdy radio!
Outside the anxious wind
blows sand around,
Table Mountain mummified
in a choking churning shroud,
My future unsure
ignorant of a racial war,
Cocooned in love,
Protected from above,
Outside the wind
blows sand abound.

"Childhood Days" first appeared in Dissident Voice
~Don Beukes

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