There by the GPO

(January 1992 – wanderings and wonderings, a visit by an exile of fear)

There by the GPOCity Post Office (3)
between OK and the Parade –
echoes re-sound
…stamp, stamp, stamp…
marble floor responds
…clip, clop, clip…
high ceilings
reflect across
tall walls
…chatter mutter rumble…
the echoes ….
the sounds of busy-ness
through the ether
across the grandness of Main Hall
dance, bounce and resonate.

I listen
and hear
the echoes now,
and high upCity Post Office (5)
along the wall,
painted long ago,
large powerful static images
draw me rooted in wonder….

a flag flutters
for Dutch pride
tall in it’s claim

a flower seller’s pointy spreading straw hat
haughty colonial disinterest

a majestic liner dwarfs the quay
by the amphitheatre of the Devil

white gables and dappled shade
coolsCity Post Office (4)
petite farm femininity

icy white water waviness
suggests a rushed urgency
to the landing
amid weighted barrels,
a look of tentative confidence,
by the knowledge of social status,
and backed by tall ships
masted, webbed and lulled
by the bay

a laden fruit cart
there by The District,
exudes the slow pace
of summer days,
and the Table cuts its greyed outline in blue ….

the past echoes in the paintingsCity Post Office (2)
mixing with the present.
personal memory mingles with his-story,
now interpreted by a new Cape Town,
the January summer of 1992
where a palpable presence,
echoes itself
across threads between then and now.
events woven by emotion
formed the barriers of yesterday, andCity Post Office (1)
polarise today’s hopes
… fragmenting future vision …

my perceptions and my emotions
mix and meander
chaotically questioning meaning and purpose
in a gurgling choke of tentativity
struggling to reconstruct
the past ….
old Cape Town’s colonial values
the past …;..
old Cape Town’s languid pace
the past ….
old Cape Town’s images of the day
….. images imagined …
misleadingly ordered
misleadingly peaceful.

How long will future governments
Colonial symbols to placate?
How will the flow of allowance,
and be steered
by days, months, seasons ….nay
of tension tight conflict and oppression?

In what ways will
Maturity of heart
and depth of wisdom,
accommodate a nation,
etched by the dissonance of time and archetype?

will the reaching out
of the arm of action,
pluck out the eye
in vengeance
find a resting place
from then, till now,
in peace?

and is this the arm
that works ploughs into mielies?
or is this the arm
that is a rifle at my head?

Is this arm
one that reaches out to shake my hand, understanding?
or is it the arm
that places the bomb?

Is the arm the muscle
of armies, armed forces, armed vigilantes,
armed police, armed terrorists,
armed Freedom Fighters,
Or is it the arm
of the unarmed?

I hope it’s the arm
That works the miracle
That ushers
That shields
That gives shape
To justice
To forgiveness
To the new …

Post Postscript:
5 April 2014
10 years ago – I returned to live in Cape Town, 12 years after writing the above.
It was written 22 years ago.
Some time after I returned to Cape Town,
I visited the GPO again – now a mall of shops for The People
and I remembered what happened after 1994
the first democratic election of our land.
And as I sit here at this moment,
I choke in the knowledge
that a Miracle Did Happen!!
that my prayer poem in 1992 was answered.
and now, today those paintings and the symbols of colonialism and apartheid
have been left to reflect and echo in our subconscious,
instead of being torn down for good reason
with bitterness and hatred
justifications and self righteousness.
Instead, the maturity of evolved human beings
has left for the world to witness,
reminders of how we were,
so the ongoing journey of our heart
evolves us,
slowly, organically,
through reflection and conversation,
not force and dominance,
which neither change nor control.
The great leadership of Mandela and De Klerk,
and many many others,
saw the need for a change
of heart
and of mind,
to be part of,
to contribute to
the human transformation
into Peaceful Cooperation
Respectful Responsibility
Justice and Forgiveness
Truth and Reconciliation
Compassionate Integrity
Determined Honour
Universal Dignity

we are on the way ….

Nadi Ipp – edited April 2014

City Post Office (5)

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1 Response to There by the GPO

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