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Poetry

Sterrekyker - Franci Greling - Sterrekyker

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Sterrekyker - Franci Greling - Sterrekyker

Poem and translation

1 Ek skryf 'n brief aan die man op die maan-

2 bladsye en bladsye vol.

3 Ek rol dit in 'n koker op,

4 bind dit aan 'n pyl,

5 en skiet dit met 'n wilgerboog

6 dat dit hoog die lug inseil.

7 Ek sien hoe dit deur die sterre trek

8 en om die maan gaan draai

9 en al verder deur die donker lug 

10 'n duisend briewe saai.

11 Nou wonder ek

12 -en wonder jy?-

13 het hy ooit sy pos gekry,

14 of sou daar iemand anders wees

15 wat al die briewe dalk nou lees

I write a message to the man on the moon

pages and pages full.

I roll into a quiver,

bind it to an arrow

and shoot it with a willow bow

that it sails high into the sky.

I see how it flies through the stars

and goes and turns around the moon

and even further through the dark sky

a thousand letters sows.

Now I wonder

- and maybe you do as well -

did he ever get his post,

or could there be someone else

who reads all these letters now

Analysis

1 Ek skryf 'n brief aan die man op die maan-

2 bladsye en bladsye vol.

3 Ek rol dit in 'n koker op,

4 bind dit aan 'n pyl,

5 en skiet dit met 'n wilgerboog

6 dat dit hoog die lug inseil.

7 Ek sien hoe dit deur die sterre trek

8 en om die maan gaan draai

9 en al verder deur die donker lug 

10 'n duisend briewe saai.

11 Nou wonder ek

12 -en wonder jy?-

13 het hy ooit sy pos gekry,

14 of sou daar iemand anders wees

15 wat al die briewe dalk nou lees

Someone on the moon is possibly someone figurative - they don’t actually exist. Writing letters is a personal process, so the speaker might be confiding in someone.

Pages and pages means that this letter is long - there is a lot to say, a complicated topic.

Lines 3 -6 indicate how the writer packaged the letter. The speaker sends the letter by use of a bow and arrow. This then brings old-age imagery to the poem - imagery reminiscent of mystical times.

Lines 7-10 describe how the letter looks in the air. The speaker says that there are a thousand letters (hyperbole) that fly through the air. The speaker also indicates that these letters are sown together, indicating the immensity of the letter sent.

In these lines, the speaker indicates that they are unsure about something. The echoing rhetoric of “and wonder you” (line 12) shows this.

In lines 13-15, the reader sees that the speaker is unsure if the man on the moon receives his letters - the speaker indicates that someone else might have read the letters.

Comment

Talle Tonge deur Mathews Phosa

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Talle Tonge deur Mathews Phosa

Poem and Translation of "Talle Tonge"

Poem

Talle tonge het ek

een tong op 'n gegewe oomblik

 

'n heuningtong

'n bitter tong

'n tong stomp

genoeg om te swyg

 

my skerp tong klap

klap soos 'n sweep

en keep diep en laat bloei

 

my suur tong brand

brand soos asyn

en laat krimp inmekaar en skend

 

Talle tonge het ek

een tong op 'n gegewe oomblik

'n tong om te sny

'n tong om te salf

Ek het talle tonge

 

 

Translation

Many tongues have I

one tongue at a given moment

 

a honey tongue

a bitter tongue

a tongue stump

enough to stay silent

 

my sharp tongue cracks

cracks like a whip

and cuts deep and draws blood

 

my sour tongue burns

burns like vinegar

and will make shame and deface you

 

Many tongues have I

one tongue at a given moment

a tongue to cut 

a tongue to heal (ointment is direct trans.)

I have many tongues

 

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Loop en Val - deur Louis Esterhuizen

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Loop en Val - deur Louis Esterhuizen

The Poem // Die Gedig

Wie sou ooit kon dink
datdit só sou wees? Jy wat sóveel rondtes
om diebaan triomfantlik kon loop
en
val
ongemaklik, diekomiek van totale toewyding
Wie
sou ooit die afloop van jou laaste wedloop
voorsien? Jy wat eens die rekords
enmedaljes
amper na willekeur kon verwerf: Neergeskiet
in
Molape onderweg na huis
wie het kon dink

op drie-en-veertig sou jy
met vier koeëls in
jou lyf roemloos
oor die wenstreep
val

hulpwaarts 
kruip

Line by Line Translation

Wie sou ooit kon dink
dat dit só sou wees? Jy wat sóveel rondtes
om die baan triomfantlik kon loop
en val
ongemaklik, die komiek van totale toewyding-
Wie sou ooit die afloop van jou laaste wedloop
só voorsien? Jy wat eens die rekords
en medaljes
amper na willekeur kon verwerf: Neergeskiet
in Molape onderweg na huis
wie het kon dink

op drie-en-veertig sou jy
met vier koeëls in jou lyf roemloos
oor die wenstreep
val

hulpwaarts
kruip

Who would have thought that it would have to be this way? You who runs so many laps around the track, in the lane, can run,            and fall?                                                                             Uncomfortable, the comic of total commitment Who would have thought that it would be your last race? You who has the records                        and the medals                                                  who won them so easily it could be random: Shot down in Molape on the way home.                                   who would've guessed

 that at the age of 43 you will,                                                          with 4 standard bullets in your body,                    fall across the finish line

                                                                                 helplessly                                                                       crawl                                

Background of Matthew Motshwarateu

He died at the age of 43. He was an exceptional athlete with a unique (eienaardige) running style. He beat the champion of the 5000m race, Ewald Bonzet in the Cotzenburg stadium in 1978. He later returned to the stadium to break Bonzet's 10 000m record in 1979. He was offered an athletic scholarship at the University of Texas in 1980, In the same year, Matthew broke the record of a 10km NYC Street Race (completed in 28min, faster by 24sec).

He came back to South Africa when his athletic career was finished. He struggled to find work and landed up being a second-hand car dealer where he struggled to provide for his family (a wife and four children)

 

 

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Klein Vrede - deur Antjie Krog

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Klein Vrede - deur Antjie Krog

The poem // Die gedig

Vanmiddag wag sy vir hom in 'n klein hoėmuurhuisie
half toe-oog ingekruip agter 'n straatstoepie

5.12 hang hy sy hoed aan die haak
trek sy baadjie uit en sy gooi kookwater deur die koffiesak

vee haar hande aan die geblomde voorskoot en wag darem
dat hy haar eers teen hom vasdruk, so skuinserig met die een arm

voor sy hom die dag se nusies vertel
die gat in die heining, die hond, Anna-jannie het gebel

Na ete haal sy die Bybel uit die boonste laai
en hy lees vir hulle van Israel se afgode teen die berg Sinaļ

haar hande vou 'n stopskulp in syne as sy bid:
Onse Vader wat hoog bo die aarde in die hemel sit ...

Die maan rys soos 'n koringmeelbrood bokant die dak
sy was skottelgoed met lifebuoy en 'n omgesoomde meelsak

hy luister nuus op die treetjie by die agterdeur
oor dinge wat met ander mense in die wźreld gebeur

Later as die luggie begint trek
die windpomp klap-klap in die dam in lek

sit hy die sproeier af, maak die hoenderhokke toe
sit die kat uit en kom langsaam kamer toe.

In die na-nag as die wind uit die noorde begin
skuif die maan oor hul bed dieper die kamer in

tot op die woorde geraam in krulle:
My vrede gee Ek julle.



Line-by-line translation

Vanmiddag wag sy vir hom in 'n klein hoėmuurhuisie
half toe-oog ingekruip agter 'n straatstoepie

5.12 hang hy sy hoed aan die haak
trek sy baadjie uit en sy gooi kookwater deur die koffiesak

vee haar hande aan die geblomde voorskoot en wag darem
dat hy haar eers teen hom vasdruk, so skuinserig met die een arm

voor sy hom die dag se nusies vertel
die gat in die heining, die hond, Anna-jannie het gebel

Na ete haal sy die Bybel uit die boonste laai
en hy lees vir hulle van Israel se afgode teen die berg Sinaļ

haar hande vou 'n stopskulp in syne as sy bid:
Onse Vader wat hoog bo die aarde in die hemel sit ...

Die maan rys soos 'n koringmeelbrood bokant die dak
sy was skottelgoed met lifebuoy en 'n omgesoomde meelsak

hy luister nuus op die treetjie by die agterdeur
oor dinge wat met ander mense in die wêreld gebeur

Later as die luggie begint trek
die windpomp klap-klap in die dam in lek

sit hy die sproeier af, maak die hoenderhokke toe
sit die kat uit en kom langsaam kamer toe.

In die na-nag as die wind uit die noorde begin
skuif die maan oor hul bed dieper die kamer in

tot op die woorde geraam in krulle:
My vrede gee Ek julle.

This afternoon she waited for him in a little house surrounded by high walls. She waited with here eyes half shut on a small front step.

At five past twelve, he hangs his hat on a hook and pours boiling water on a small bag, which has coffee in it.

She wipes the flour of her hands and onto her apron and he awaits a hug from her. The hug was skew and was done with one arm.                    -

She then tells him the daily news - there is a hole in the fence, the dog and Anna-jannie had called.

After dinner she took the Bible out of the top drawer. He then reads about Israel's idols against the mountain of Sinal.

Her hands folded into a shell-shape for prayer: Our father who is high above the Earth, and in heaven.

The moon rises like wheat above the roof. She washes the dishes with lifebuoy (a type of soap) and a seemed flour bag.                                      -

He listens to the news that happened in other places around the world, on a small step (treetjie) in the back.

Later, as the wind starts to blow, the windmill starts to "klap-klap" and leaks into the dam.

He turns off the sprinkler, closes the chicken cages, takes the cat out of the room and then comes to the room.

Later, the wind from the North blows and the the moon slides deeper into their room.

The moon slides to the point where the framed, curled words can be seen:
My peace I give you.



Analysis

Antjie Krog lived in the Free State and 50 years ago, the small towns were nothing more than a few shops, a post office, a City Hall, a church and maybe a hotel. This was the time before TVs, computers, email or smartphone. The radio was the source of enlightenment and maybe a newspaper or telephone as well (if you could afford it). There was a lot of silence and peace, and this is what this poem is trying to portray. 

The poem consists of 12 couplets which describe a day-in-the-life of a married couple. The couple has not much more than food and a roof over their heads and they don't need anything more. The poem supports their strong connection as two people which are in harmony (love). This is seen by the use of a couplet structure as well as rhyme scheme. They follow a strict day-by-day routine for 12 months of the year - this is indicated through the use of twelve stanzas.

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Die Kind - Ingrid Jonker

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Die Kind - Ingrid Jonker

Die kind wat dood geskiet is deur soldate by Nyanga

Die kind is nie dood nie
die kind lig sy vuiste teen sy moeder
wat Afrika skreeu skreeu die geur van vryheid en heide
in die lokasies van die omsingelde hart
Die kind lig sy vuiste teen sy vader
in die optog van die generasies
wat Afrika skreeu skreeu die geur
van geregtigheid en bloed
in die strate van sy gewapende trots

Die kind is nie dood nie
nòg by Langa nòg by Nyanga
nòg by Orlando nòg by Sharpville
nòg by die polisiestasie in Philippi
waar hy lê met ‘n koeël deur sy kop
 
Die kind is die skaduwee van die soldate
op wag met gewere sarasene en knuppels
die kind is teenwoordig by alle vergaderings en wetgewings
die kind loer deur die vensters van huise en in die harte van moeders
die kind wat net wou speel in die son by Nyanga is orals
die kind wat ‘n man geword het trek deur die ganse Afrika
die kind wat ‘n reus geword het reis deur die hele wêreld
 
Sonder ‘n pas
Maart 1960

TRANSLATION: The child who was shot dead by soldiers at Nyanga

The child is not dead
The child lifts his fists against his mother
Who shouts Afrika ! shouts the breath
Of freedom and the veld
In the locations of the cordoned heart

The child lifts his fists against his father
in the march of the generations
who shouts Afrika ! shout the breath
of righteousness and blood
in the streets of his embattled pride

The child is not dead
not at Langa nor at Nyanga
not at Orlando nor at Sharpeville
nor at the police station at Philippi
where he lies with a bullet through his brain

The child is the dark shadow of the soldiers
on guard with rifles Saracens and batons
the child is present at all assemblies and law-givings
the child peers through the windows of houses and into the hearts of mothers
this child who just wanted to play in the sun at Nyanga is everywhere
the child grown to a man treks through all Africa
the child grown into a giant journeys through the whole world

Without a pass

(Uit: The South African Family Encyclopaedia, written and compiled by Peter Joyce; Struik Publishers 1989. Selected Poems, Ingrid Jonker; Jonathan Cape 1968.)

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