Ben Okri lewer pleidooi vir die poësie

Ben Okri as jongeling

Ben Okri as jongeling

Ter ondersteuning van die Sunday Telegraph se Poetry for performance-kompetisie het die bekende skrywer en Booker-pryswenner, Ben Okri, ‘n roerende pleidooi gelewer waarom die jeug hulle by uitstek tot die skryf van gedigte moet wend. Volgens hom word adolessensie gekenmerk deur eensame verwarring wanneer die adolessent desperaat probeer om begrip te vorm van hom of haarself binne ‘n onsekere wêreld.

Volgens Okri is dít ‘n uitstekende gemoedstoestand vir die maak van gedigte. “It’s because the richness and exuberance of teenage feelings cannot be contained that poetry makes the perfect receptacle for the overspill. Teenagers have such a vibrant response to everything. When you have such feelings, there’s not much you can do but rebel. When I was young, I wrote poetry for the same reasons that young people take to drugs: to get into it, to get out of it, to rage, to be free. Poetry did all of that for me. It was my rock and roll.”

‘n Paar paragrawe verder het Okri dié openingsalvo nóg verder gevoer: “It is difficult to communicate normally when we are full of feeling, so we turn to the magic properties of poetry. It has the same intoxicating effect; it is the wine of life.”

Nou ja, toe. Of dié geesdriftige betoog die jongmense tot die poësie sal bekeer, is helaas te betwyfel. Wat ‘n mens wél mee kan saamstem, is Ben Okri se slotopmerking: “A nation that encourages poetry in its young is a nation that encourages the genius of its people.”

Vanoggend dan, ‘n vroeë vers uit die pen van ‘n geesdriftige prosateur.

Terloops, indien jy jou in die omgewing van Stellenbosch bevind, kan jy gerus die 12de DJ Opperman-gedenklesing wat vanaand om 19:00 in die Konservatorium se Jannaschsaal deur Antjie Krog gelewer word, gaan bywoon. Die onderwerp van haar lesing is: “Die verkleurmannetjie(s) op Shaka – ‘n Vergelyking tussen die manifestasie van Shaka in die Afrikaanse gedig van DJ Opperman en die Sesotho roman van Thomas Mofolo.” Skakel Liana Roos by (021) 808 2158 om jou sitplek te reserveer.

‘n Lekker middel-in-die-week-dag verder vir jou.

Mooi bly.

LE

 

And If You Should Leave Me

 

And if you should leave me
I would say that the ghost
Of Cassandra
Has passed through
My eyes
I would say that the stars
In their malice
Merely light up the sky
To stretch my torment
And that the waves crash
On the shores
To bring salt-stings on
My face:
For you re-connect me with
All the lights of the sky
And the salt of the waves
And the myths in the air.
And with your passing
The evening would become too dark To dream in
And the morning Too bright.

 

© Ben Okri (March 1986)

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