Wednesday is garbage collection day in our area.

Over the years, I have befriended many people who go through the rubbish of the neighbourhood, taking out what can still be eaten, used again, recycled or sold.

Most of these people are homeless and live rough. All are extremely poor. Alcoholism claws at many without mercy.

A host of lessons are learnt, some of which are practical and should be obvious – don’t just chuck out food. Wrap it and put it in a clean bag on top of the bin. Wrap broken glass and tins in newspaper so that ‘Diggers’ don’t cut themselves. Bag unwanted clothes separately. Don’t throw out medicines that are not labelled. Etc.

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My time as Poet in Residence at David Krut Projects comes to an end with the closing of their Cape Town gallery at Montebello this month.

What a privilege it has been to read poetry there, alongside works of art, drawing poems from the AFRICA! Anthologies; the POETRY  IN McGREGOR FESTIVAL Anthologies; the first twelve issues of STANZAS; and a number of collections, including translations from the Italian of Valerio Magrelli’s work.

In bidding farewell, I reflect on four exhibitions –

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Sunday 11 November 2018, was the centenary of the Armistice which marked the end of World War 1 at the
“Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month”.

The British Poet Laureate, Carol-Ann Duffy wrote a commemorative poem, THE WOUND IN TIME, which was read simultaneously by thousands of people across British and Irish beaches.

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The South African figurative artist, Nicola Holgate, recently exhibited her Dolls’ House at Chandler House in Cape Town. It took her two years to complete and holds over 100 tiny pieces within five rooms which are exact in every detail. Wall-paper and framed works of art speak of tasteful occupants. Persian carpets cover the floors. There is a dolls’ house in the children’s room.

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I like to read poems where others pray and where the “matter” of Soul builds up and becomes tangible.

This gives the sense of adding a pebble to a Travelers Cairn, one that has developed over centuries to mark The Way.

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The spiritual home of poetry in South Africa is, without doubt, Temenos in the village of McGregor, where the annual Poetry in McGregor Festival takes place.

Temenos, which has a garden designed and nurtured with prayer and contemplation in mind, is the hub of the festival. The generous residents of McGregor offer their galleries, studios, recital halls, courtyards and restaurants as venues for poetry readings. The magnificent Groote Kerk also lends its ear, granting space to poets and their muses.

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