Poetry

December 13, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

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By

Damiam Vincent Henry

 

 

 

The Dreamer

 

 

She wanted to be a writer,

Her dream was to free her soul.

From all of the genocide,

Her parents forgot to hide.

 

But nothing could hide the pain

that she was about to see,

as she wandered about the streets

where all of the ‘good’ were slain.

 

Zimkita was at a loss,

of words that she couldn’t write

since the day she would feast her eyes,

on a city without a light.

 

She wanted to be a writer,

instead she became a mother,

to all of the little kids

who never knew how to read!

 

Her parents wanted to hide her,

but they weren’t meant to keep her,

from finding her true potential,

in becoming a motivational, speaker;

where she finally gets to be

a voice against poverty.

 

 

 

 

 

A Million Little Birds

 

 

Nonthando had met her fate;

The guilty escapes while the innocent pays:

She hadn’t ate in seven days; for many kids it were too late.

 

Some were victims of poverty,

many never got a chance to reach puberty.

Like birds without a song

this world favours only the strong.

 

But she of course went through different stages:

once she was left for dead on a pavement;

they were everywhere like scattered pages,

as they walked by as though so heartless.

 

She was a girl that knew how to hustle,

but always felt dead like an empty bottle.

 

Never could find a place where she belonged, but as it were predicted she would die a

stranger, yes she died of hunger!

On the same day she was born like a true story;

in utter silence near a dirty sewer.

 

If my pen could write these words, there’d be no empty people, or hollow…souls like

empty bottles, like a book with empty pages.

 

See these pages would be filled with joy and sorrow, like there’s no tomorrow! Only an

empty sky that’s filled with a million little birds.

 

 

 

 

 

Damiam Vincent Henry

I became a writer and poet the day my mother named me. I was born Damiam Vincent Henry in the very streets of Cape Town. Being a young male, growing up in the Cape Flats I had my reading. I read all types of books, from Map Jacobs to Moby Dick. Swept away into a world free from poverty and institutionalization, I’m reminded coming from school and immediately getting lost in the comic book titled “Coloureds” written by the Trantraal Brothers. Reading became my hope. It inspired me to write. But imagine seeing people addicted to drugs, girls forced into prostitution, and boys inducted into the number game. Motherless children who hadn’t eaten for three whole days, wearing those same clothes they wore a few days ago. These are a few of the many things my eyes had witnessed; although this happens everywhere.

We fought our battles from being bullied at school, making new friends, and vaguely hating our lives. But we’d never truly know how our mother would do char jobs just to keep us in school. Or how she starved herself so that we wouldn’t attend school hungry; many mothers can relate. But growing up and later moving to Delft, our mother became even more protective over my brothers and I…who could blame her? We’ve lived just about everywhere and even though we pretended getting used to the idea of staying in one place, we thought life was cruel.

But our mother had an antidote to escaping from the “cruel life.” Funny, she’d give each of us a Huisgenoot while attending to the people’s washing, and doing dishes. And we’d be lost in “Liewe Heksie” and trying to complete the crossword puzzle. She had her eye on us even when it seemed she was pre-occupied. Now, residing in Stellenbosch and being away from my mother’s home…I’m reminded by her words she’d always quote: “A mother’s work is never done.” And now being a father of two, understanding what she meant after all this time, I dreamt of changing the Cape Flats but it never crossed my mind that our entire world needed fixing.

As one of my role models said: “Wishing for the impossible is a flat stone skipping across water, bouncing off the surface, countless times before sinking.” Yes, failure is inevitable, but literature will always be beautiful. My mother stood firm in her beliefs that we represent God wherever we go, and now being in Stellenbosch, today I’m 26 years old and am hoping to do so through my writing.

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