Sunday, February 27, 2011

A poem for Sarah Baartman - Diana Ferrus

I heard, the other day on the radio, a description of Hankey - the tiny little town where Sarah Baartman, the so-called "Hottentot Venus" was born and in it has, at last, been buried. The grave has, apparently, been vandalised. I recalled the poem written for her, by Diana Ferrus. (This is the only version I could find. I find the word "wretch" in the second verse a bit strange. I wonder whether it should not be "wrench"?)

Recently, I have been having rather spirited discussions with regard to body types - and what some consider "ideal". In the midst of the heated discussions, I thought of this poem.

A poem for Sarah Baartman
By Diana Ferrus


“I’ve come to take you home –
home, remember the veld?
the lush green grass beneath the big oak trees
the air is cool there and the sun does not burn.
I have made your bed at the foot of the hill,
your blankets are covered in buchu and mint,
the proteas stand in yellow and white
and the water in the stream chuckle sing-songs
as it hobbles along over little stones.

I have come to wretch you away –
away from the poking eyes
of the man-made monster
who lives in the dark
with his clutches of imperialism
who dissects your body bit by bit
who likens your soul to that of Satan
and declares himself the ultimate god!

I have come to soothe your heavy heart
I offer my bosom to your weary soul
I will cover your face with the palms of my hands
I will run my lips over lines in your neck
I will feast my eyes on the beauty of you
and I will sing for you
for I have come to bring you peace.

I have come to take you home
where the ancient mountains shout your name.
I have made your bed at the foot of the hill,
your blankets are covered in buchu and mint,
the proteas stand in yellow and white –
I have come to take you home
where I will sing for you
for you have brought me peace.”

6 comments:

  1. A wonderful poem, full of anger and love.

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  2. I agree melanie,I love everi word!

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  3. well it should and its the truth

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  4. Excellent post!!! I have learnt many things form here. I have also website where you can ivsit and pass your leasure time. In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. To get more information, visit here……………
    poem

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  5. I learned of her story long ago, so when the movie came out I cried a little death, and when Mandela got her back I cried in joy. This is a beautiful tribute to such an ugly incident. And I cry inside an honor this! I am from Detroit and I began taking welding as art, my very first sculpture was entitled Saartjhie 2002

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