“Silence: 2” – by Sydney Sipho Sepamla

Sipho Sepamla, a South African poet, understands pathologies of power.

The silence I speak of
stretches the moment to Pretoria
Bloemfontein and Cape Town
it is the same silence
that has walled in
tense remembrances of days
making of each moment
pebbles of time

the silence I speak of
tends to confound my tongue
I gurgle speech sounds
like a river sipping
the marrow of aged rocks
the silence I speak of
crouches the night
to make shadows that terrorize
even the illusions I fabricate

daily I collide with ghosts
that walk day-night streets
hourly I feel the howling of
their wintered hearts
break into the ease
I’ve learnt to pace

I’ve sought to read
the brooding silence
that betrays itself with
dry coughs
or unfolding wrinkles

sometimes I’ve gone down
on all fours
raking the earth with one ear
to pick what murmurs
may glide down there
beneath the roots

how this silence
I hear
breeds
on avenues of despair
I’ll never know

I speak
of a silence
I fear

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