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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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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Testamento, a poem by Alda Lara, is about Deep-Giving.
By Deep-Giving, I mean the giving, not of accumulated material possessions that have no intrinsic value, but the giving of things that influence heart and soul during a life.

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