Poetry by Margot Saffer

Prayer for the Fallen (of Marikana)                                                                      
                                              with acknowledgements to Louis MacNeice

You are already dead, why hear you?
Come with your pangas and your sjamboks, machetes and
    your blame.

You are already dead, congratulate you.
You paid for bread with blood, beer with bones,
    lungs last coughed, coal cut and gold grated, daily-indexed and platinum-fated,
paid for your livelihood with your life.

You are already dead, respect you
With prayers to con-soul you, monuments to visit you, photographs
    to know you, politicians to claim you, memorials and a national holiday
in wintertime to live you.

You are already dead, exploit you
For the fuels that flow at your flint, your yeses
     when they agree you, your actions when they define you,
your time when they mine you,
      your life when they murder by means of your
hands, your orders when they obey you.

You are already dead, why hear you?
Come meet the men with guns who think they are different from you,
     the men who will kill you.

You are already dead, remind you
What you died fighting for, what they protected when
     their fear shot at your numbers,
           a week after Women’s Day, two months and thirty-six years
   after Soweto,
       those who have made you a cog in a machine, pickaxes and guns, a thing with
one face, a thing, the cops and the miners, the unions, and
     Commissions, paid in platinum.

You are already dead, who were you?
Cover your bodies from the shots and the flashes,
      dead
you become no longer things, people
    with names and faces, lovers and children, dreams
          for one day, if first
    you did not die.

You were men who were killed by men.
You did your job and they did theirs.

[ The cheque is in the mail, gold-plated, platinum-fated.]

17 August, 2012

Waking News
(for Liviu Siegler)

I stir and I stir
insoluble irony
into my coffee

About the contributor

Margot Saffer is a South African who came of age as her country emerged from apart-heid. Pre-Corona, she was living, writing, and guiding clients on a boat in the ancient Jaffa Port as a body-psychotherapist and astrologer. Her writing has been published in four languages on five continents.

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