For Dennis Brutus….. 1924 -2009

Dennis Brutus – anti-aparthied activist, poet, professor and family man amongst others – passed on in his sleep today…. An excerpt from the family statement:

Dennis lived his life as so many would wish to, in service to the causes of justice, peace, freedom and the protection of the planet. He remained positive about the future, believing that popular movements will achieve their aims.

Dennis’ poetry, particularly of his prison experiences on Robben Island, has been taught in schools around the world. He was modest about his work, always trying to improve on his drafts.


His poem – A troubadour I traverse – from the anthology A simple lust – is one of my favourite poems. I’ve taken the liberty to reproduce the full text here.. in appeciation of his unique influence….

A troubadour, I traverse all my land
Exploring all her wide – flung part with zest
Probing in motion sweeter far than rest
Her secret thickets with an amorous hand
And I have laughed, disdaining those who banned inquiry and movement, delighting in the test
Of will when doomed by saracened arrest,
Choosing, like unarmed thumb, simply to stand
Thus quixoting till a cast – off of my land
I sing and fare, person to loved – one pressed braced for this pressure and the captors hand
That snaps off service like a weathered strand.
– no mistress – favour adorned my breast
Only the shadow of an arrow brand.


Christmas was ok.. It was WHITE at the third time of asking- wish I took pictures of me trying to move around in knee deep snow. Got invited out to a bash by the guys where there was a wee bit too much alcohol. That is guaranteed to loosen up a few tongues – and I heard a lot about certain people I shouldn’t have heard! Thankfully I’m out of here in a bit, so I can forget I ever heard those things.

I finally burnt the stash of things, I did try one last time to talk but the conversation was forced, almost alien. Clearly I’ve had my nose in the wrong cloud all this while. We lose some and we win some, that keeps life moving..

Something about Christmas makes people want to be on their best behaviour – I got a call from an old friend, and it was almost like the old days.

The work folks want me to start in January. A project came up that they require extra hands for. So much for my lounging till February. In a way it’s good though, because boredom was already doing things to my mind!

I like the Taking stock thing. I think it will be a great way to measure what progress, if any, I have made on resolving the issues that spawned my mid life crisis.