Oxalis purpurea purpurata
Photo by Jim Holmes
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Blake Friedmann Literary Agency Ltd
122 Arlington Rd
London, NW1 7HP, UK
Tel: UK + 207 284 0408
Fax: UK +207 284 0442
She won the Sanlam Literary Award 2000 for an unpublished collection of poetry,
Weather Eye, which was subsequently published in South Africa by Carapace Poets
In the UK her work has appeared in several journals, among them Leviathan Quarterly, Wasafiri, London Magazine and the Guardian as well as the British Council anthologies New Writing 8 (Vintage, 1999), New Writing 10 (Vintage, 2001) and New Writing 11 (Picador, 2002).
She translated Marita van der Vyverís novel Wegkomkans into English as Breathing Space (Penguin, 2000), and works in London as a literary agent, representing many South African writers.
* * *
Outside, the afternoon is ringing,
ringing, massed cicadas singing out
their silly news. The hot
brown gardenís loud
with all their gossipmongering.
The insect grapevine -
shrill bush telephone -
incessant beetle headlines
shrieked into the heat.
Like our old radiogram,
its fizzing, whistling, wheezing,
as we ease the big ribbed knob
and line the red bar up,
with news from Moscow, Greece,
These noisy chaps are closer,
sounding off from somewhere near.
The jacaranda, or the orange trees,
we canít be sure.
They are everywhere,
and nowhere, sly cicadas,
no-one can decipher them.
Or was it just the sound
of sticky tarmac, shimmering?
Who knows? Perhaps the noonday shouting
never was that clamorous.
Our tricky memory contrives
and always turns the volume up
and in the end I guess
that they were merely stuck
at fundamentals, needle jumping,
at the prod of sex, or simply whooping
- summer! summer! summer! -
every minute of their short, hot beetle lives.
This poem first appeared in New Contrast, 2002
sweet fallacy the heart
this heaving muscle glistens darkly
something like a toad
From Weather Eye, Carapace Poets, 2001
www.StellenboschWriters.com © Rosemarie Breuer