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Wim van Binsbergen

Poetry, English

Poezie, Engels

   
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HEART OF DARKNESS

(for Lewis MacAdams
Poetry 78)

Although Elija did not spur me on
I have been there, I have just come from
this place where you pretend to go,
pretend to take yourself, a froth-mouthed oracle;
pretend, I say, since crashing down from this pinnacle,
the Temple's, is what you really want to do, or do,
or should do -- take my hand,
and from our mothers' wall of lamentation we
shall spit our mortal fire, ourselves,
into this sacred ground:
shell splinters morton lead the dregs
of incantation: 'drive
drive deeper into Africa'.

'So why don't you write in English?'
'Well, you know, there is a certain
intimacy about language.' 'Yes, of course.' And rather
than doing a Conrad, charting
this foreign tongue under the pretext
of penetrating Congo River, pennytrading
for ivory a dancing queen who wore the conus-shell
moon as a royal mpande ornament
stolen from heaven before the tower of forked sticks
did collapse into a million
arboreal shrines, I chose to be
her escort: nawengire
ba mukwetunga bawo; pere haya
nakaranga kami niye mukondo bawo.

Therefore, let us sing this canon
reciting seder formulae, chewing parsley and bitterness
keeping the door open, teaching the children --
sprinkling the white meal, clapping humble salutes
while inhaling vegetal fumes ushering in
the spirits of alienness;
downing our wine of words
downing the wine of dawn
to our hearts of darkness

Therefore, let us sing this canon / reciting seder formulae, chewing parsley and bitterness / keeping the door open, teaching the children -- / sprinkling the white meal, clapping humble salutes / while inhaling vegetal fumes ushering in / the spirits of alienness; / dowining our wine of words / downing the wine of dawn / to our hearts of darkness

 

 

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page last modified: 19-12-2002 17:17:56