Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Apartheid miniatures

Amongst the desolation of a gritty beach,
abraded by years of abuse
a pole stands free.
The paint, once vivid orange,
is now rubbed back into original hard grey steel;
but the plaque above it remains legible.
No Non-Europeans Permitted
repeated in Afrikaans and Zulu.

The winds scrape,
the howling prowls ceaselessly
against the expanse of washed-out beach.
You can see corroded stones and bits of grease
deposited in blobs long ago.
The sea attacks the shore as though it had no choice,
a sluggish churning.
There's a searing wind which cuts and tears,
astringent to a peeled skin.
Grit which sticks under your eyelids,
scraping quietly,
till your eyes water and the grit pops out like tears.

Far away a hut stands disintegrating, deserted,
crumbling with every new weed and strenuous effort of tide,
You shield your eyes against the hardness,
and feel the slap of salt water stinging on your face.

(Published in A life stripped of illusions)

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