what act (Human Rights competition)

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what act (Human Rights competition)

Post by Jane Berg on Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:52 am

This is a poem I recently submitted for a competition titled, what does Human Rights mean to you. Although I did win something, I'm not sure if it was for the poem or for some photographs I submitted, but a prize is a prize. I wrote it after working on a story on the failed delivery of food parcels to by SASSA in Grahamstown East. Food parcels are given as part of the Social Relief of Distress program.

What Act

I wonder if
you have cleaned your kitchen,
in anticipation
of our arrival.
At least, there is no mother of five
I know,
who has a house, so ordered.
Molweni, Unjani,
, yes, it is
the frames face us, blankly,
Tata flaps a rag to clear the air.

The letter arrives,
by an Executive of State,
or so Lebo says.
For you, in the swirling line
there is a kind of motion.
The small, odd, printed words,
tell you precisely how much
your distress is worth,
what act and section, of grief,
it falls under,
and in what coin your indemnity
will come.
Where and when though,
it is not printed.
Saying nothing, you wait.
Folded, over themselves, and placed between
two small porcelain figurines,
the words, printed, wait.
Tomorrow, you wash shirts,
you go to church, give Tata his medicine,
feed children.
No one is told, and no one notes.
The same square of light lightens
a certain corner of linoleum.

Ewe Mama
Kushushu Namhlanje
We take the letter, copy details,
what section, what act,
it is all here.
Your hands fold,
now that you have let it go,
you are not so sure,
you too, you realise, you yourself,
will be printed.
We console,
Yes, Mama, you are right,
you know,
this thing which is coming
it is owed,
in 2015, you have the right
to complain.

Jane Berg

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Re: what act (Human Rights competition)

Post by Tom on Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:00 pm

Well done! Take the glory for the poem and the photographs I say. It's an interesting read, even without knowing much back story. I'll be back to to comment tomorrow after another read or three.


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