Waiting my turn in a queue, I read to myself from the proof copy of Absolute Africa! the poem Heart by Andries Walter Oliphant.
I reflect upon the energies of Mercy and Compassion and wonder what prompts them to arise in the human heart.
I look out the shop window at diamonds of rain falling from the sky.
Then I see, through a lull in rushing traffic, the figure of a girl in orange crouched against the grey highway bridge.
She seems to be in prayer, rocking back and forth.
I buy her a cup of cocoa and a muffin.
She dips her finger into the chocolate foam and licks it.
She drinks slowly on this bitter Cape winter day.
Sometimes just the splash of colour is enough to call the heart.

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HEART
by Andries Walter Oliphant

Heart is head
And dreaming feet

Heart is wound
And healing

Heart is silence
And desire

Heart is stone

Heart is happiness
And pain

Heart is earth
And abstract

Heart is a face

Heart is door,
Street and gate

Heart is birth
And burning sheets

Heart hunkering
Is a river

Heart laughing
Is vermillion

Heart is throat
And honeysuckle

Heart is arms
And heart is eyes

Heart is fury,
Fire and frost

Heart is rain,
Sky and kisses

Heart is breast
And fragrant jasmine

Heart is breathing

Heart is noun,
Verb and adjective

Heart beats


Absolute Africa! An anthology of poems selected by Patricia Schonstein
ISBN 978-0-620-73537-7
African Sun Press ww.afsun.co.za

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