[DEBATE] : Brutus poem, 4/1/09: "And I am driftwood"
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Sun Jan 4 19:12:38 GMT 2009
Dennis Brutus: This is a poem from 1970, in which after looking at the
politics of Africa, I look at my own place in Africa.
And I am driftwood
on an Algerian beach
along a Mediterranean shore
and I am driftwood.
Others may loll in their carnal pool
washed by tides of sensual content
in variable flow, by regulated plan
but I am driftwood.
And the tides devour,
lusts erode the shelving consciousness
fierce hungers shark at the submerged mind
while the quotidian battering spray . . .
Even the seabird questing
weaving away and across
the long blue rollers coasting
from green shelves of shore-land
and rock-tipped banks,
even the seabird has a place of rest—
though it may vary by season or by tide
and a mate brooding with swollen nares and puffed breast
signalling nest-routes with tender secret cries
though it vary by season or by tide.
But I am driftwood
by some white Algerian plage.
And the riptides rip and tear
and unrest, questing, yeasts in my querying brain
and I beat on the fierce savaging knowledge
rampaging through my existence
accepting the knowledge, seeking design
For I am driftwood
in a life and place and time
thrown by some chance, perchance
to an occasional use
a rare half-pleasure on a seldom chance
and I grate on the sand of being
of existence, circumstance
digging and dragging for a meaning
dragging through the dirt and debris
the refuse of existence
dragging through the diurnal treadmill of my life.
And still I am driftwood.
Still the restlessness, the journeyings, the quest,
the queryings, the hungers and the lusts.
(Though we know how clouds gather and have weighed the moon,
though we have erected and heaved ourselves
in some vast orgasmic thrust
to be unmundane and to trample the moon—
still the blind tides lunge and eddy,
still we writhe on some undiscovered spit,
coil in some whirlpool of undefinable tide)
Yet in the unmarked waters I discern
traceries of patterns like wisps of spume
where I have gone
and snailtrails in seasands on a hundred shores
where I have dragged my sad unresting loins
—tracks on a lunar landscape that suggest some sense—
And still I am driftwood
on some sun-soaked plage.
Club des Pins/Algiers/en route to Paris. 1970
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