Sleep Little One

Sleep, Sleep,

Little one

Night is here,

Day is done

Let dreams stir

Beneath your brow

Nothing here

Can hurt you now


The kiss I lay

Upon your head

The words I say

Beside your bed

Are the secrets

Of my heart

Are but shades

Of what thou art

Do Not Doubt

Do not doubt my strong desire

That let out sets clouds on fire

Do not fear my love of you

That makes clear all I do


This lightning clout,

Running through my veins

This feverish bout,

Nothing restrains

This is my love

And it is as strong as nature

Brain Cloud


Thick black smoke

Billows into the shape of a brain

Far flung sparks and cinders

Are its synaptic nerves firing,

Contemplating the meaning of its life

Which is short and soon to be scattered by the wind

Things White South Africans Shouldn’t Say

“Apartheid ended over twenty years ago, black people should get over it.” White people telling black people to get over apartheid, colonialism and slavery etc, is like telling an abuse victim that they are not allowed to feel pain or talk about what happened to them. For many, if not most black people, it is worse than that: it is like hearing their abusers telling them to get over it while they are still bleeding. Yes, I know that dwelling on the past can be a hindrance to progress. Nonetheless, black people (all people for that matter) are entitled to their pain and are entitled to talk about those things that hurt them or their parents.

“I had nothing to do with apartheid.” The fact that you were born after apartheid or had nothing to do with its implementation doesn’t negate the fact that it favored you. It also doesn’t negate the fact that, if your parents were around during apartheid their silence allowed it to carry on for much longer than it should have. Yes, there are exceptions but whatever good some of our parents did against the apartheid system is was not enough.

Even if you totally disagree that you have benefited from apartheid, you cannot reasonably deny that it caused the suffering of millions of black people; that millions of them and their children are still suffering from its legacy. Of course apartheid’s legacy could have been more rapidly diminished by better post-apartheid governance, but it was never a legacy that was going to be completely erased within our lifetimes. White South African need to own the fact that apartheid is part of our history. Only then will we be forgiven for it.

“I am not a racist.” If you use the word, ‘kaffer’ or treat black people with less respect than you do white people or generalize about black people, then you need to take a long look at yourself. We live moment by moment and in the moment you said, ‘kaffer’ or treated black people with less respect etc you were being a racist. If you do those things out of habit then you are most definitely a racist.  Your denial causes as much damage (to yourself as well as those you offend) as the racist act itself.

When I do something wrong at work, I immediately tell the boss about it. That way I don’t double my troubles. If I deny that I did something wrong or try to minimize my mistake then I am guilt not only of the mistake I made but of trying to cover it up as well. It is the same with acts of racism. The denial of what you did causes as much, if not more anger, among black people than the racist act itself. It also displays your own ignorance. It would be much better, if you have done anything racist to say, “I am sorry that was racist. I admit it. It was wrong, totally wrong.”

Someone who steals is a thief even if he says he’s not. He might get a reduced sentence but only if he admits to what he did and expresses genuine remorse about it. He will one day no longer be a thief but only if, day by day, he creates a track record of paying for what he needs. White South Africans need to lead the fight against racism so that whatever history is written about us from now on proves that we are not all racists. Then we won’t have to say it any more.

Far From Perfect


The world far from perfect

People kill each other everyday

Even with our democracies and rights

And faiths and sciences

We haven’t quite figured it out

We are most dangerous

When we think we have

Time seems to be running out

But I guess it always has

Since the beginning

We have been expecting the end

Many things have changed

But we are just as human

As we have ever been


The day will come when they will be true

When every word of them will be nodded at

And written in a book so made sacred

In the future people might even

Put their hands on its cover when taking an oath

Or being sworn into high office

Churches could be built around them

Prayers may rise to them

Inevitably there will be an alter

And sacrifices

Suffering in the name of healing

One day they could well be

The kind of system they rebelled against

They might go from being a key to a shackle

Then it all starts again


I much prefer shadow

Unlike sunlight it does not burn

When you fall asleep bathing in it

It does not blind with its glare

Thou at times it is deep enough to hide

The tip of your nose and the world beyond it


I also prefer what happens in shadow

The activities of the night

The heat without light

I love the way shadow shines

On those corners long forgotten

The way it keeps the mystery

Until a hand reaches into the unknown

And is enlightened by touch alone

There among the shadow beams

Travellers from the emptiness

Far beyond the stars


My eyes widen when I try to sleep

My thoughts crowd me when I try to flee them

They line up for miles waiting to be thunk

Their queue stretches over the hills until morning

Each will get its turn

The last few prying their way in

Jostling for mind space

Just before the alarm clock rings

And frightens my dreams away

Sometimes I think I could be a vampire

My skin is white enough at least once a year

My teeth are likewise sharp

As for the drinking blood and draining others

I, having been drained night after night,

Sometimes think it is about time I do the biting

Be there

I wish I could be everywhere

Every place where I have been

Every place where I have loved

I wish I could be with everyone

Everyone who has won my heart

And reminded me why it beats

I wish I could be with everyone

And still be here

I am here for me

But how I would love to be

There for everyone

The Machine

It all happened so soon

The fire on the horizon at dawn

The vanishing act of the moon

The stars turning off, the lights turning on

The gears set in motion

The engines of industry slowly

Clanking to life

The veins in and out of the cites

Beginning to flow with cars

The smoke rising from the smokestacks and chimneys

As the monster breathes again

The little ones shook awake and sent off

To learn how to keep the machine alive

Their young brains beginning to crystallise

To think the madness they inherit is sanity