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Sunday Times Books LIVE

De Waal Venter

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Is white really necessary?


It necessitates your attention


We’re having a long conversation,

rather roundabout

but touching upon important matters

in unexpected turnings of our talking.


The dove’s craw swells warmly

and vibrates as he talks,

a church organ in the throes of Bach.

Then he changes tune

and pipes melodiously

a clarinet tune.


The dove does not think

that death is unnecessary;

he feels that it provides the motivation

to live exuberantly.

I agree and change the subject

to white.


Is it really necessary, I ask.

The dove does think so,

especially in sound, he muses.

But also to temper black, I add.

Without white, black would be dead.

The dove agrees

by changing his tune to a simple

baroque theme with four main notes.


One learns things in conversations, he says.

Things that are unnecessary

and things that are necessary,

I reply mischievously.


The dove reacts

by falling silent and stretching a wing.

He looks me in the eye:

I challenge you

to find a single thing

that’s unnecessary.


He flies off

to make the necessary

preparations for the day.


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