Translation to English by the author
Melanie Grobler was born in Warmbaths (Bela Bela) and grew up in Rustenburg, Transvaal. She studied at the University of Pretoria: BA in Psychology and Philosophy and completed a degree of Doctor of History of Art in 2002.
Melanie Grobler’s first volume of poetry, Tye en Swye in die lewe van Hester H was published in 1991. She received the Rapport Prize for this collection. In her poetry she predominately writes about the “self” in the playing fields of politics, of the ancestors and in her own private family life. Die Waterbreker was published in 2004. In this work the journey of the conscious of the self is explored. She questions the role of the “self” in the household. Instead of writing about the biological, she extends her interest to the ancestral poets. Her third volume of poetry, Deur ruite van die reis, was published towards the end of 2013. In this collection the poet writes about a voyage with all its symbolic associations with water; the unconscious, female qualities, archetypal, primordial and creativity. The poet is the figure head plunging through the water.
Melanie Grobler is currently living and working in Pringle Bay.
On the bough of a big leaf maple
in the crepuscular shadows
sat a glossy black crow with a hump
on its forehead and a curved beak
a sub species, Corvus japonensis
a black bird stretching its wings
he is the magical ancestor who shape shifts
into the beautiful origami.
(Tr. by the author, 2015)
Seacoast – deep breathing along the beach
years sucked down along the coastline
to the gray embankment of sleep
where the undertow is running stronger
the woman sways when the cry comes
stronger than the trembling of being alive
shivering further along the coastal path
footsteps crunching on the gravel
and stumbling in the tangled seaweed
pocked by salt, back to her darkest dreams
that flood the half-moon of the bay
the soft backwash on the swaying gray shore
staggering shuddering as she reaches out towards first light
just before the expected hour of the winter’s morning.
Daybreak under the weighted cry of the night keeper’s eyes.
Seacoast – deep breathing along the boulders
years sucked down along the beach
but a sudden and unexpected change in weather
become days of plummeting and tossing of fish bones in the breakers
delusional winds, smothered birds caught in the undertow of rain
leaden water hanging in the sky
the woman watches the rain spatter against the panes
today of all days, she does not deserved
this continual gray drip on the roof of reeds
cursing the bleak conditions she sends it along a coastal path
to a body of water resilient against ocean storms
a river miraculously flowing away from the sea
becoming stream, becoming furrow, becoming landscape
woman looking at the downpour for seconds, minutes, hours.
Daybreak under the weighted cry of the night keeper’s eyes
( © Melanie Grobler. Translation of unpublished Afrikaans poem: Seekus.)