Who will come with me through the fields
as they darken, by yourself, for yourself only,
the precise moment dusk clenches its fist
hard enough to bruise, pummel at your face?
Who'll be tempted enough to wish to vanish
from the yard where last night's braai still
smoulders (loading ash, parcel by parcel,
into the immense moving trucks of the wind)
and, tossing that cigarette half-smoked away
as if nonchalantly, start to cough, be mortified,
deny all the trite words that have come to life
day by day, one by one, out of your mouth?
…If you want to baffle the insect of time
that tickles on everyone's wrist and lulls
till it stings, it's time to come out…
your garden with its goal of mere beauty;
burst through its hedges hemming you in
with sham protection, brittled by drought.
Don't you notice the future that's coiling up
and hissing to strike at your house?
Your walls bubble under a patina of old paint
and the slaver of many too many sad winters;
your curtains still shut tight for no earthly reason;
till all you own reeks of despair and decay:
tonight your face looms, a ghost on its pillow,
tears trickle down on the linen you've convulsed,
you're never at peace with your dreams in affray
and I know I can't help you. I need to find out
who you are, who I am—we grow old in this place!
No one was born for this, here no one can smile:
you are my neighbour: surely you know?