Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tuesday Poem: The Edge by Rethabile Masilo

I walk into light
in a straight line,
I am warmth
when I lick myself
with this tongue;
it's been a hard day
but I'm back now,
I am new earth
for country, brother,
for another swing
at the thing gotten
off thought's edge.
No face, no head,
no tail. Just you, I,
and a need to save us
from the wrong done
to books. A dog leg
caught in a trap
is sawed off. Who
knows what words
were said to the girl
at the well, the edge
of what thought,
before she dove in?
I been trained by
the turn of this century
to be cuss words,
the central insult
in four-letter instants.
If I stop now, short
of the final thrill,
the definitive answer,
if I draw to one side
away from your path,
a curtain under cover
of night, a season
will go without me
in the helix of rebirths.
If I doubt the power
vested in me through
this colour, this tongue
click, mountains
that look at the sides
with the bronze pity
of joy, then all is lost.

Rethabile is our newest Tuesday Poet - born in Lesotho the same year as me, and - in fact - in the same continent. I was born in Zambia but my only connection with that place is via my parents' memories. Rethabile is disconnected physically - for he lives now in Paris - but his heart is still there. 

Rethabile's blog Poefrika celebrates African-inspired writing and writers, and personal heroes in the worlds of music and literature and politics. It's inspiring to see these names and faces, their stories, their poetry, and to read Rethabile's own work. In this poem, I like the way he talks to himself, asks questions, suggests different ways the story could go, describes an edge where - perhaps - he resides or could go (over), and returns to the main question of identity. I love 'I am warmth when I lick myself with this tongue', I love - but don't fully understand - 'the bronze pity of joy'.  I like the way the poem drives forward in its short-linked lines, like a tongue, a path, an arrow, confident in its shape, not breaking out of the edge the poet has set himself, and as such suggests all is indeed not lost.

Thank you for permission to post your poem, Rethabile. 

Please check out the hub for a post from Zireaux - At Melville's Tomb by Hart Crane - and such a commentary! Read to believe. 


Zireaux said...

How perfect -- the edge! Right out of H. Crane. This is a poem with bravado and passion. Looking forward to seeing more of Rethabile's work. "The bronze pity of joy" is certainly a remarkable line. -Z

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