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And pale . . .

Trekboer in the Camdeboo in the eighteenth century



"And pale, as faces grow that look in mirrors.”—Robert Graves, "The Pier-Glass"


I find no mirrored glaze about

Or pier-glass fit to fit this space,

Hurt Nature offers proof without:

Its inscrutable, fucked-up face,

Maybe in time to recover,

Perhaps to heal the genocide

Done by that ancestral Other

Who left the San no place to hide.

The Camdeboo has small shelter

For small folk in Nature's camo

Driven nowhere helter-skelter.

(Check the wagons for more ammo!)


A hundred aeons'd suckled there,

But he now made an end of it

As God in Heav'n ordained the fair:

Ek doen dit sommer want ek's wit!*

The unspeakable, my Namesake

Just a moment maybe pitied.

Could this be a cruel mistake?

Christe eleison,* Namesake dittied.


Puzzled, he didn't kill them all,

But took a baby home, to mop,

Whose distant daughters, also small,

Serve us our breakfast, in this coffee shop.


Graaff-Reinet, 1778?/2017


*Christe eleison / Χριστὲ ἐλέησον = "Christ, have mercy.”


**“I just do it because I'm white!"

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