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The work is never done by Bernadette Richards

Bernadette Richards | Sep 25th, 2021 | poetry | No Comments

Poem

It should not have been a surprise
But it’s different when you hear it out loud
That tones of black and brown have to work harder
to gain an ounce of the trust which white skin is naturally endowed with

How painfully laughable it is
When my husband is spied on from his greying hair to his feet
his brown skin too suspicious to move peaceably
while waiting for me in an establishment in a well-known Cape street

Oh ‘swart gevaar’, if only our resolve were as abiding as you
We might shake our psyches from digging their own graves,
and awake from this vampirous state
But we poison ourselves exactly as the bigoted systems hoped we would do

The heritage of a new people
is suspended like a mocking carcass dangling in front of a fading rainbow
Where struggle credential after struggle credential
imputes upon itself the title and reward of saviours

If a mother’s work is never done,
how can a freedom fighter choose the jewels upon his own crown?
Let us beware the meats we feast upon
For when we feast with impunity,
it patiently beckons the abyss Nietzsche warned of

Poet Bio

Bernadette Richards is from Cape Town. She is inspired by diverse forms of art and believes that creativity is one of the best forms of therapy.

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