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Charika Swanepoel

Charika Swanepoel

Monday, 26 June 2017 14:26

Le Pendu

Life and death: they are one, at core entwined.

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1922

 

I

At first I thought,

this must be midlife, but then again,

it’s been only twenty-two years.

I thought perhaps this must be the afterlife

but the air’s too fresh for death

and my hands far too fat.

This must be rebirth then,

or the place you hover just before birth.

 

II

From maternal violence

sprung paternal deliverance.

Thus, before you I stand,

Master of none.

Suspended above all vocations,

bended in all directions.

Dabble in a bit of this and a bit of that

but never give nor understand

more than the length of your hand.

 

Follow all the lines of your heart but

at the door of Nirvana take the

exit on your left.

Mum and dad, look at me now,

now I’m but a bodhisattva,

a hanged woman,

strung up for all to see

so undecided and incomplete.

 

 

III

It’s not that mystical moment when

rose and thorn meet, no.

It’s more than just liminality,

It’s more than just transition,

and so much less than transcendence.

Welcome to the waiting place.

Surely this is how Christ must feel,

hanging all these years.

Surely this is the life-death,

that great grey area of the universe.

Stuck between heaven and earth

in a small crack dividing time and eternity,

birth and expiry and finally,

you and me.