This month’s editorial, named after a poem by Emily Dickinson, After Great Pain, reflects on the theme of death and rebirth at a moment in time when important human rituals as well as the seasons ask for it – in the North, as spring hatches; and here from where I write in the South, where autumnal fruitings are planting seeds to incubate the coming winter’s dreamings.
I am sad and proud to introduce two new names to the newsletter – firstly, that of Kris Marais, whose poem, State Property, commemorates an SADF conscript’s trauma during the Apartheid era; and Michael Whiteside, who offers a response from a fellow conscript’s perspective. These traumas lie 30-40 years back in time; the fact that poetry and the powers of the word generally can be galvanised to help re-live to mourn such injuries is one deciding reason why I serve the Muse.
Eva van Belle’s poem paying tribute to a man recently murdered in the mountains that grace her home shows poetry carrying more than just the news.
Her prose description of her solitary hacking battles, included here, was not in fact sent as a submission, but as a point of interest for a one-time hacker on the Table Mountain Chain, namely, myself. I include this enjoyably readable piece for its encouragement to all who are given opportunity to embrace the fact that looking after the earth may be an endless process, but is never futile! (Acknowledgment for this helpful distinction is due to my one-time neighbour, the late John Hale, who with botanist Hugh Taylor founded the voluntary group SAVE – the Swartkop Alien Vegetation Eradicators – on the Cape south peninsula 40 years ago.)
And … there’s an Easter poem written by me in response to a long-eared visitor to my window!
May you enjoy this rich edition. Thanks go to Mari de Beer for giving up her time to proofread.
Thanks as always goes, too, to Leigh Barrett, for hosting the online version of this newsletter.
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