Leon Retief. Minder bekende digters van Canuckistan, deel 3


Windfall crab apples in ons buurman se tuin



Jammer maar ek het geen idee wat “windfall crab apples” in Afrikaans is nie, maar makie sakie – gesien die laaste sin van die eerste gedig gaan ek dit net so los.

Domanski kan nie juis beskryf word as ’n onbekende digter in sy eie vaderland nie, maar dit wil my voorkom asof hy buite Kanada se landsgrense minder bekend is as wat hy behoort te wees. Aangesien ek voorheen reeds biografiese besonderhede van hom hier geplaas het, gaan ek dit nie weer doen nie.



first light of day inscribed on night’s gravity
sweet breath of noumena between the pines
this is the path of the unconverted
the unwashed
its pentimento showing through
the blood      showing through grass and weeds
briar and brush
I made camp just beyond the pond
where algae live happily in the continuous
loop of their wedding nights
just south of where the ravens are already flensing
bodies of the departed      and crickets live
with their glassine eyes      their lidless black paper
watching the world
all the night shinings go out like candles
two by two      certain eyes close while
others open      as a breeze braids through
the old growth of this hour      sun rising
ur-light giving the sense that everything
is in holy orders      that we all live
in the guise of ourselves      in a measure
of space under a monk’s cowl
pampered bacteria in the leaf mould
dead foxes in their vestments
the grasses’ heart stretching on for miles
swamp water living the life of tea steeped
to intelligence
the cursive pulse of everything in synch
like a geothermal cipher      warm as a deer’s core
and every footstep we take is just where
the world’s edge dips into infinite space
this morning I walk carefully there      knowing
that the husks of dead flies and twigs dust
all the rooms of Paradise      that every windfall
apple has come to change the world.



what we were meant to see we’ve seen ten thousand times
sunlight falling on its sword in a hayfield      a craze
of birdmaking in the trees
taxonomy of the sadhus drifting by cloud-like and deathless
white pebbles and dandelion globes      little fetishes
and their interwork      carrying our lives on their
small shoulders      those lives we build beyond the event
horizon      so no light or sound escapes from our desires
those contemplative days wrapped around our bodies
stellar hours leaning upon us
from out of the blue      from out of the Great Dissolve
what we have longed for we’ve longed for ten thousand times
no words for this weight upon our hearts
no name for this hospice which has taken us in
its gallery of illuminations opened wide
to our gaze      its rooms filled with inklings and quantum fields
our lodgings occupied and shining forth
out of a meadow’s breath      where we live in the ecstasy
of asterisms      in the accidental bliss of space-time
woolgathering flesh to bone      holding tight
to elementary particles      to remnants of thought scattered over
the circumference of a blood drop      over the mete of a vein.
whatever we’ve done will never be finished      whatever is named
is unnamed as soon as we turn away
beneath the sky’s sketchbook
we make our own plans      we imagine the future under the flyover of stars
lifting their names from a page      chandeliered high above our bodies
we are nothing more than brushwork and pillow talk
living beside the stone’s perpetual ascension       beside the moonlight
sipping water from the roots of things
lying down our heads to dream of stones and moonlight      every day
collecting dust on our sleeves      every night shaking dirt off our shoes.
we’d like to be a new parable      we’d like to be a bright fable in a dark
wood      to deepen the range and pulse of our lives      like shadows do
by merely tissuing radiance       colour-coordinated all the way
down to the river
unlike the revealed we burrow into our hiding places     unlike
the hidden we draw attention to ourselves      trying to find a niche
in the diminishing circles of our beliefs      following an apparition’s
prosthetic light just above the trees
we are beautiful and lost      our unknowing raising its hands in prayer
the scriptures of our bodies slowly peeling away in whispers      our words
like the secretive cries of grass torn over and over by the wind
always returning to our sorrow
always about to address it but only miming
those hieroglyphics      that melancholic scrawl half erased
those eroded depictions of our grief.



current of air stirring the hostas      cat asleep beneath
the warmth of a star      bees flying about with bouquets
and hypodermics      lazy hours spread out on the grass
like a thin green blanket      discoloured with minor
activities      with my thoughts and their moving pictures
this would be a good day for dogs to finally stand on their
hind legs and speak       for Fate to answer our questions
for the rapture of childhood to occur again      for God to
lift the veil and show us the inner workings of a stone
like I said lazy hours      nothing much happening      so I do
what I always do       watch things get on with their lives
a young sparrow circling the plastic red birdfeeder
toad on the uncut lawn      carrying its underlife and ashes
a millipede performing its custodial duties in the mulch
its legs in Times Roman       typing its message
into the earth as it walks along      always the same one
for over 400 million years      keep your feet on the ground
                                               keep your feet on the ground

© Don Domanski

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2 Kommentare op “Leon Retief. Minder bekende digters van Canuckistan, deel 3”

  1. engemi ferreira :

    Hierdie reeks van jou het my veel plesier verskaf, Leon. Veral hierdie aflewering. Ek hou so baie van Domanski se melankolie en nostalgie wat desnog in klaarheid staan. Hy is dalk minder bekend, maar ek het tog wel deur die jare sy verse raakgelees en geniet.

    En die windfall crabapples in jou buurman se tuin is so presies hiermee saam. Herinner ietwat aan In die stilte van my tuin: Blare van verbloeide rose het die wind hierheen gewaai; voor my ope deur …

    die windverwaaide afgevalle houtappeltjies in jou buurman se tuin verdien ‘n eie spasie – iewers?

  2. Leon Retief :

    Dankie engemi. Nou weet ek sommer ook wat “crap apples” in Afrikaans is: houtappeltjies…. mooi naam. Ek stem saam met jou oor Domanski se gedigte.