Don Beukes (Western Voices 2020)

Exclusive: Western Voices, 2020: Edited by Scott Thomas Outlar
Bio: Don Beukes is a South African and British writer. He is the author of  'The Salamander Chronicles' (CTU) and 'Icarus Rising-Volume 1’ (ABP), an ekphrastic collection. He taught English and Geography in both South Africa and the UK. His poetry has been anthologized in numerous collections and translated into Persian, French and Albanian. He was nominated by Roxana Nastase, editor of Scarlet Leaf Review for the 'Best of the Net' in 2017 as well as the Pushcart Poetry Prize in 2016. He was published in his first SA Anthology ‘In Pursuit of Poetic Perfection’ in 2018 (Libbo Publishers) and also 'Cape Sounds' in 2019. His forthcoming third book 'Sic Transit Gloria Mundi' is to be published by Concrete Mist.

have you seen the lights?
I'm leaving Sanaa, Yemen – I remember my mother whispering from far away as the
sky started to turn ash grey or maybe it was the stinging dust raining into my exhausted
eyes – Dry from too many a wailing hollow cry, frantically calling out just to make sure
my brothers and sisters made it out in time but only I remained as faintly I whispered to her –
“Have you seen the lights?” I wondered why she hesitated but realised she was not here with me.
Others whisper around me smiling half-heartedly but all I can hear is the comforting purring hum
of the jet engines propelling us along on this medical bridge high above the clouds to a new
future and a foreign voice asking me – “Have you seen the lights?”

No Stars in Bethlehem – My childhood view was once my uncle's house and olive trees beyond
but I am now surrounded on three sides by a cold dull dividing concrete wall rising ever higher,
dimming the stars at night – Darkening my liberty vision. My future rapidly darkening but now
and then my mother runs into the house again as I hear a rush of high pitched ringing symphony
in my ears from familiar invading fears as she begs me to hide whilst whispering, “Have you
not seen the lights?” – The darkness now blinding, lighting up that wretched wall!
Our land shrinking. Our lights dimming...
As there are no more stars in Bethlehem.

Echoes from the Shadows 

Our mute voices have long since
lost its resonance even at the height of
our social and corporate relevance – We
loyally followed an organic order
predestined from generations of
perceived proven excellence but not
all of us possess the required essence
to fulfill expected targets or so we are
told – By day we emerge from our doomed
catacombs you, yes you cursed us to by your
dismissal of our potential to matter – Even
if only one person we influenced gained
to leave their own legacy – Oh what a fickle
fickle fantasy as you glare through us, hoping to
maybe just maybe you have not really seen us
but we see you, straining your eyes to glance
over us hoping we are mere dust from a former
existence to be blown into thin air as if we were
never here...


Translucent clouds singing false notes ringing
ears popping eyes burning insides churning
vision blurring sudden realisation fight or
flight dead of night hesitation heightened
frustration the end of a proud nation all around
unmistakable fermentation of ideas potential
fears shattered prayers broken dreams religious
screams drowning bleeding hearts choosing
safe paths leaving hurried existential footprints
but even those are wiped from history no evidence
human settlements in cultural harmony religious
acceptance in turmoil the urge to question it all
raging in moral dark corners if only these tyrannical
power hungry wars would spare young souls to treasure
their heritage sadly not to be as rivers of souls leak into
oceans of discontent swirling with dark divisive entities
cleverly drip-dropping toxic charcoal whispers eagerly
chewed by weakened influence chaos disciples unable
to speak their own minds so they bite into sweet chaos
hoping to get a seat at the victory feast unfortunately
their devotion rewarded with extinction of their minds
molasses senses leading to our forced fatal
cursed detrimental consequential exodus...

1 comment :

  1. Thank you to Scott Thomas Outlar and the Editors of Setu for publishing my word weaving.


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