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Sunday Times Books LIVE

De Waal Venter

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Boy reading

A boy reading and a fat boy

Reading by the light of a candle,

the boy listens to the night

moving around him.

There is a fat old wind

lazily shuffling around the corner

in the dark outside.

A jackal gives a hunting cry,

and, barely just there,

his mate answers thinly.

Down the passage

comes the yes and no,

the here and there,

the good and bad,

the right and wrong,

the now and then,

the life and death

of the grandfather clock

gravely working away,

unseen in the visiting room.

Crickets he doesn’t hear,

they are the night.

That was a ewe

calling her lamb to her

in the family gathering of the kraal,

and a dog

slowly spelling out his point of view

into the listening sky.

The boy reads about a bomb

that turned a city into rubbish.

There was no blood

like when you slaughter a pig;

the people just became

part of the night.


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