I had a mother,
she was good to me.
She swam with me under the waves
and showed me where to anchor.
When the sea was calm
she calmly knotted her ropes,
and when the sea was rough
she dived with me below the waves.
She held me closely, warmly,
so that I rejoiced in everything.
I longed for her a long time,
and then, one evening, driving back,
I met her here, within me,
as a dream stays with the waker.
So now I find myself,
against my will,
so strangely, unacceptably, beautiful.
Mother one day I must ask you –
there is so much to know.
You’ve been such a good mother,
holding me so close,
letting me so completely
All I asked of you was understanding,
but I got much more, a flame of compassion
broad as a leaf, much more,
a transformation from an eagle
to a stone, into a pod of seed.
Finally, finally, into a man.
All I knew when I started were several keys,
the gravel of a spoken voice, that’s all.
Oh, something of poetry, maybe.
With you my intellect turned to water,
the structures fell, lopped branches
of stealth and satisfaction.
But now, through listening,
a dance of more than one dimension
comes running over the sand.
The sand is washed clean.
I am left with your weather beaten face,
your battered face of animals and caves.
When you died, the Great Mother constellation
absorbed you in the empty sky,
the flowers and the apple trees,
the sour fragrance of the veld.
In you, love and work were never divided.