A Love Story, Symbols Of the Artist Dambudzo Marechera as Poet and the African Novelist


There is a global village in the glass of milk that stares me down.

Knocks me off my feet. I even find the technology of the bloodline of the phoenix staring back at me there. Its eye is filled with wonder, bright starlight, my sister’s Phuket and India. Her New York state of mind. The wolf is changing. Shifting perspective. He blooms in both the natural and the supernatural world. Too much. I have too much and then too little. Too much time alone. Then too little time alone.

Angry and then sad and then hurt. The hurt is a museum that fills my bones. Once I felt I could be a writer, a novelist anywhere. Was my mother a fierce mother to be. There is a journal inside my heart. A knitting factory. This place of weeping can be dazzling too. To all the impressions in the clouds of a glass of milk.

The owls are wise and patriotic as the world changes around them. It fills them with grace and mercy. It instructs my work. It does like the ringing of the church bells. Long ago I tried talking to female writers. I tried to tell them that I liked their view on things as if I was talking to a brave confidante or my mother. So, now I pay attention to the song in the wind. I call it plenty talented. Gifted beyond compare. Those female writers never paid me any attention or enough attention and I moved on from that world.  Everything is electric. Soul searching the dimensions of yesterday. Conversation intense like collecting coins or stamps or painting a mural. I believe in God and crashing into things. The woman is emotional and sensitive.

Ignorant and cultured. Sophisticated but kind.

Stitch me back together again. Feasting on stones. I am left digging to find your soul. I must forgive you. We are two daughters. How can I not remember that. Perhaps this is a treatise on loneliness. Yes, it is significant. I remember jasmine in my hands. J.M. Coetzee’s birthday party in Grahamstown this year. His eightieth. I am Keats.

The romantic age. Forests are being educated. The are days when the sun breathes with energy, light and vitality. With the hand in the small of her back. The glories of love, he whispered in her ear. You are all the glories of love when I look into your eyes, when I hold you in my arms, tight around the waist and feel you tremble in my arms. It was true, the girl did not care for furs, she did not care for laces, all she could see was the boy’s smile as wide as the ocean-river, even his hair had swagger, she told her father with a laugh. She was happy. The boy made her happy. It was clear to see. The stars shone like diamonds in the sky. Starlight was in her eyes when she stared at the boy, into his brown eyes. And at home after a night on the boy’s arm, she wrote in her journal, pen in her mouth, biting her bottom lip pensively as she thought of all the ways to describe love, as she thought of all the ways she could reach the boy through her words for he could see everything. Every emotion, every feeling on her face, her sweet upturned face as she looked at him, or studied his profile, or glanced in his direction whenever he made her feel shy.

You keep me standing tall in ways only my father did before. You keep me strong in the eye of the storm. You are a sanctuary, you are a room, you are silence, you are guardian of the moonlight, you are more than Mr Clooney’s smile, you are perfection even though you are imperfect and I am imperfect. I fear my love that sometimes I might overthink the situation, that you might fall out of love with me, my smile, my dress, my intelligence, and will you always be good to me, will I always be good to you, my love, my love, my love. And I want to help you through it all. Nothing is going to keep our dreams apart now, my love. We are moving on through it all. Through the dark clouds in our coffee, through the dark clouds on the horizon, through the rain, we are still going to dance, we are still going to kiss, we are still going to hold hands and each other through it all. Fire and ice doesn’t matter. We are going to stand tall, defeat is not the name of the game. The name of the game is love. The name of the game is love.

Let us remember that we did it all for love, the girl said, turning her face away from the boy with the magic, and her unborn children in his eyes. The boy with his hand in the small of her back.

We all face psychological challenges. I have said this before. Trying to understand the purity and morality of the code of faith, empathy and love. We, or rather the tyrants within us patronise the fact sometimes that everything in life is navigational. There are days when I do not understand the psychological framework of winter, nor illusion. I listen to the voice of the birds. It gives me all the features of hope. I think of the multiculturalism found in hospitality and I think of hope. We are all called to the philosophy of kindness.

Sometimes my spirit boughs down to betrayal but I have all the symbols of the artist as poet on my side. We need poetry and the African novelist in a COVID-19 World. Humanity needs philosophers. As a poet I write on climate, tonight the sky was empty of stars, as a novelist I conceptualise the narrative as a kind of psychological therapy and survival kit, as a philosopher I know this. There is illness and chronic illness, there is healing and then there is healing, but it reminds us that we are alive. To Dambudzo Marechera. To the African novelist. To us. To the African Renaissance. All our connections for the most part are emotional as well as universal. Sometimes I think of the resting place of the Khoi. Their origins in the Kat River Settlement.

In much the same way I think of writing an African  novel, I think of the truly great, the truly great philosopher, the truly great artist who in the midst of this pandemic wakes, still gets up in the morning, and works their well-established heart out.

Abigail George
Abigail George
Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominated shortlisted and longlisted poet Abigail George is a recipient of four writing grants from the National Arts Council, the Centre for Book and ECPACC. She briefly studied film, writes for The Poet, is an editor at MMAP and Contributing Writer at African Writer. She is a blogger, essayist, writer of several short stories, novellas and has ventured out to write for film with two projects in development . She was recently interviewed for Sentinel, and the BBC.


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