Kobus Moolman


Once again he cannot sleep.
He lies in bed with his eyes shut and the blood
pooling in his belly.

Once again sleep eludes him like light through his fingers.

Once again he gets up, puts on his feet, pours out his eyes
into the dark lake of his window.

The window gathers silence tightly around him like a shawl.

The silence has the colour of memory. The colour
of sleepless remembering.

* * *


Yesterday he could easily still believe
that getting to the top really amounted to something.
That if he had a goal, he would ultimately reach it.

Today he woke up
and saw himself in the small mirror behind the bathroom door,
and saw the cuts under his eyes,
the holes in his hands.

And at that moment he knew
that the body is not flesh, it does not feel.
That it is made of sand instead. And it runs out.

* * *


We who accept survival as our password

accept incompleteness as our blessing.

We who dress in blindness and in faith

do not know the colour of our palms

nor the weight of our feet upon the water.

We who have dust in our mouths all day

have stones on our tongues instead of songs.

We who quench fire with fire all night

know that wings are not the only ladders

to the dark, that heavy wood swims too

in the tide of the wind.

We who accept survival

accept survival as our curse.


Kobus Moolman is a South African poet and playwright, resident in Pietermaritzburg. In 2001 he won the Ingrid Jonker Award for his debut collection, Time like Stone. His second collection, Feet of the Sky, was published in 2003. He is the editor of the poetry journal, Fidelities. n 2004 his play, "Full Circle", won the Performing Arts Network of South Africa Festival of New Writing award. "Soldier Boy" from his collection of radio plays, Blind Voices (2007) was broadcast by the BBC and the SABC. His latest collection of poetry, Light and After, was published in 2010 Most recently he is editor of Tilling the Hard Soil: Poetry, Prose and Art by South African Writers with Disabilities. He currently teaches Creative Writing at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban.