O’ Mother of the People
You who gives birth
on the steep slopes,
with howling winds
which caress your curves
through cracks that whistle
and curl into your ancient being.
You, whose bounty of beauty
pours and spills nurture
off the edge of your primeval Table
into a garden of humanity.
You, who offers the coming and going
of seasonal welcome
and seasonal decline
in tender birdsong
across vistas and laughing waters
and the power of lashing winds and tearing storms.
You whose ancient Head sits tall and proud above the bay for years watching uninvited
guests stake their claims.
they deposed your dark maned roar
that once echoed between the buttresses.
and consumed the quagga
that thundered across the flats.
they sawed your primeval forests
for the gain of its wood,
and fought the land
taking it for their own
from Khoi and San
whose lightness of mark
in the tides and cycles of the seasons.
the mischief of power grew
in the hunger of the ones who came to stay,
in campsites below Platteklip
which spread into a colony,
Through cycles of birth and decay
O’ Mother, you have never lost the power and the majesty
the dignity and the beauty
the tenderness and the wild.
and when the seeds who had sprouted,
tangled and pulled,
and pushed and tore,
and were swelled swollen with self importance
they ripped out your child O’ Mother
and left you wounded, scarred and torn
in the place of your heart,
where the peoples had mixed
vibrant and free
and care, mixed with tender touch and wild abandon,
and danger, lurked like a black south easter in passion untamed
amidst the mad fire of summer.
And so they bulldozed the District
and spread the seeds far and wide
across the Flat land
in broken hearted song
whose dance never lost a beat
except in the falling and breaking of its children.
O’ Mother of the People,
You have called a new day.
You have seeded the vision of unity
for your people of many cultures
to sprout on the scar of your heart
and grow to encompass all
in remembrance and song,
in learning, and in discovery,
in celebration and affirmation
through exhibitions and expression
you invite us to unite us
to evolve our identity
as individuals, whose genetic hereditary
dances in the light of cultural diversity.
It is a time of great unfolding O’ Mother.
It is a time to celebrate difference,
in the hearth of your home,
the town at the foot,
in an ocean of blue.
early January 2000 – edited 21/1/00