A Blessing and a Curse

My little compendium would hardly be complete without two “working” poems which some may have seen in my “other-worldly” publication, Four Minutes Past Midnight.

They each serve a purpose.

The first was written in the original hand of my Great great great Grandfather, and fell out of his old prayer book almost 200 years later, to tell me something. So now I’m following instructions, “do thou repeat”, by telling you!

The second is a protective curse, beyond my own grave,  warning would-be pilferers of the consequences of their own actions, should they wish to “cash in” on my (bequeathed) collection of rare family records.

BLESSING

I say to thee, do thou repeat
To the first man thou mayest meet
In lane, highway or open street

That he, and we , and all men live
Under a canopy of love
As broad as the blue sky above

And ere thou leave him say thou this,
Yet one word more, they only miss
The warming of the final bliss

Who will not count it true that love
Blessing, not cursing, rules above
And in it we work and move

One thing further make him know
That to believe these things are so
This firm faith never to forego

In spite of all that seems at strife
With blessing, all with curses rife
That this is blessing, this is life.

CURSE

Know this:

‘Twas Kilgour sweat these records formed
Which, mixed with blood and ink,
Impressions cast and lives adorned
To forge a mighty link

Try break this chain, it can’t be done
Without sore price to pay
When nothing but dishonour’s won
Forever and a day

Who dares to rob, to trick, to seize
Such avarice shall cost
The one thing you most dearly prize
Will be forever lost

Worse; he that would these works destroy
His very soul condemns
To Satan’s brand of misery
Til Doomsday makes amends

Their destiny’s in Kilgour hands
Right to eternity
As long as waves still lap the sands
Let these ‘Impressions’ be

The Kilgour Curse

Captain Kilgour and the Curse

Right there

Just dusted the cobwebs off this one too … a poem I wrote for the occasion of my late Granny Vee’s 90th birthday. (She died aged 102).

The greater family had converged on my cousin’s farm in Winterton, Natal, to attend my gran’s birthday party on August 15, 1992. I had written this poem – I suppose it is a bit la-la like – and rendered it in calligraphy, then framed it. (I believe it looked a whole lot better than it sounds.)

At the appointed time during the proceedings that afternoon, I reached behind a curtain and removed the large gift-wrapped picture frame to hand to her as a surprise. (Also secreted behind the curtain was a packet containing the funniest smurf-like rubber face mask you ever saw – for later jollification).

Well everyone was very inquisitive to see what the parcel contained, jostling and pushing forward as my gran tore open the wrapping. Then she removed the frame and held it up, resting it on her lap for all to see. “My eyes aren’t so good any more, you read it for me, my boy”, she said.

I hardly had to read as  I already knew the words by heart, but I went through the motions as I recited my poem. This allowed me to glance at my grandmother’s face from time to time. Then I noticed her eyes well with tears, and huge teardrops rolled shamelessly down those powdered, wrinkled cheeks. Looking up, I saw that this was having a chain reaction effect on the audience. Tears were splashing down all around, and there was a furtive scrambling for tissues and hankies. Frankly, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

Thinking fast, I blurted out: “Gee I didn’t realize my poetry was that bad!”. My hand shot behind the curtain and I grabbed the packet with the funny mask, which I put on immediately. The mood swung instantly. Now I was confronted by a howling throng, slapping their sides, and whose tears had changed to tears of laughter, rolling uncontrollably down their cheeks. (My own tears were hidden by the mask). The situation was hysterical, if I may say so.

RIGHT THERE

(For my beloved Grandmother on the occasion of her 90th Birthday
at Noodhulp Farm, Winterton – 15 August 1992)

Ever since I can recall
Through seasons as they rise and fall
Through times of sadness, times of joy
Yes, since I was a little boy
You’ve been right there for me

No firmer friend nor Beacon bright
Could ever match your guiding light
No golden coin, no earthly, price
Could pay you back for your advice –
You’ve been right there for me

Memories flood life’s diary book
With picnics and the snaps you took
And times we thought were sent from Heaven
Like Christmas at Two- Seven- Seven
You were right there for me

With Pa you travelled far and wide
Until he parted from your side
Then family could be counted on
To rally round and keep you strong
You stayed right there for me

Thank you for the cards you sent
The letters and the time you’ve spent
The book you wrote, the thoughts you shared
For showing me you really cared
You’re still right there for me

The talks we’ve had, the love you gave
Are treasured moments that I’ll save
No matter how the die is cast
I know as long as time doth last
You’ll be right there for me

Love,

Bruce

SIMILAR FUNNY MASK

A similar funny mask, though not nearly as funny-looking as the one I used that memorable day.

Paper Love

Love is in the air

LOVE IS …

 

The original copy of this little poem, handwritten in illuminated calligraphy on scented parchment, was presented to my lady. Who knows what became of it although I still have my calligraphy pens!

PAPER LOVE

Imagine we are making love
Upon this scented sheet
Beneath the soft lamplight we move
Between these lines we meet

Now feel the rhythm of my pen
My urgency to write
The words I long to whisper when
I hold you close at night

Until at last the ink like blood
Explodes inside my veins
Unpunctuated feelings flood
As ecstasy proclaims!

In afterglow of passion spent
This paper to the touch
Reminds you of the love that’s meant
The kind that spells so much

Bruce

 

The same in any language

LOVE