Sunday Times Books LIVE Community Sign up

Login to Sunday Times Books LIVE

Forgotten password?

Forgotten your password?

Enter your username or email address and we'll send you reset instructions

Sunday Times Books LIVE

Book Excerpt: We Are Edited by Natalia Molebatsi

We AreWe Are is South Africa’s latest poetry anthology, compiled and edited by Natalia Molebatsi, who is also one of the contributors. The book will be launched next week in Johannesburg. It’s sure to be quite a happening do, given that the contributors to We Are include “gender and social activists, journalists, filmmakers, actors, playwrights and musicians, among others”.

The blurb continues, We Are “is an attempt to let you into issues prominent in the environment and minds of some of South Africa’s most talented and experienced artists”.

BOOK SA is pleased to bring you a poem from the collection, by the editor herself:

* * * * * * * *

listen up child
for the fruits of our gardens
by Natalia Molebatsi

i’m raising you to wake up and take a ride on the universe
be a beam of soul/sound/energy
create my child, like you the created
learn the language of moulding
seeds into fruitful beings
i’m raising you so you too can raise me
infant of my skin
teach me things about the two of us we’re yet to learn
and believe me child some of the things i know
can save your soul
so listen up child,

wake up to be yourself or don’t wake at all
life is not for the feeble
stand ready for the teachings of time and
only life alone can extend her arms to offer you wealth
i can never reach
so clothe yourself with ancient soul
who knew before we did that you, the future
will be born into this crazy but jazzy scene called life
rise and let the world know you are here
to claim yourself

never wait for life’s breath to blow into your
lungs rather bloom from the dust we rose from
like mystics and grow your own wings
and be sure to ask for strength between these wings
so they don’t split in halves cause child,
i’m raising you to be whole
paint your life’s everyday in ways not forced on you but reflections felt
by you cause none but ourselves can
blow up a true self that is everything there is to be
raise your story’s voice to go beyond any beyond
and beat any ghost that could suck out your way up to clouds of choice
have sacred communion with the past that knotted to you your presence
cause child, your are the present and
any presence that lacks a past is part of the lost
so listen up child

listen close child cause you’re a sister, and i’m a sister
i’m raising you to remove your walk from the exhausting
arms of men-talities who can’t take a strong sister
and white folk who want to think
we’re strong enough only for taking their instructions
and child, i’m still tasting the bitter truth i’m learning
that not every woman is a sister
so, listen up gal

i’m raising you, bloom of my belly
never step into boxes these aren’t enough to hold your stories alive
rise to the knowledge that our people and theirs
are tapestries growing long and wide
enough to hold you up till you can hold yourself
never forbid your truth in spaces that strangle your realities
rise child your vision is your voice
i’m raising you to think not only in straight lines but in
circles and curves and connections
so you can come round, if you wish, my child
paint the moon orange or black if you wish
cause child, i’m raising you to be free

i have laboured to
challenge convention
beat conviction on my soul
scrubbed the floors of my heart
tended the soil of my womb
so the fruits of my garden would be like you child of mine
beautiful beyond magic herself
i stood guard at the entrance of your life
to usher you into these arms/bosom/back
that i’m raising you to fly beyond

so listen up child

* * * * * * * *

Book Details


Recent comments:

  • mambakayihlokozwa
    February 7th, 2011 @16:36 #

    What a nice poem infact wat the worlds greatest poem by sister natalia gwell u may think I'm pushing it 2 far but the way she mutates through words givinh life an dawn 2 b born on paper is simply taking u to a journey of parental schemes that finds to reside on our forgotten sanctuaries listening to poetic bibles that weaves a human thread of peace between a child at rest to b a child at rebirth wat are u doing to strengthen yor relationship with your child do u simply shout or u hand them a pen to write a poem in free verse that beats words into soul go sister or should say mama since I'm very young


Please register or log in to comment

» View comments as a forum thread and add tags in BOOK Chat