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De Waal Venter

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Neanderthal

Blue-eyed boy

The woman was not an Earth Mother

who could make the winter

go away

and protected the hunters.

She was a woman

who held the baby’s head

in the hollow of her hand.

He was sleeping,

but she knew his eyes were blue

like hers;

but he had the long head

of his father’s.

You are of two people,

she crooned to him softly,

of the rhino hunters

and the clever ochre people

from the warmer lands.

He opened his eyes

and opened his mouth.

She stopped him with her breast.

He was content,

for now.


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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.


» read article