Category: Poetry

Waves and God

Ever wondered why you can stare into the flickering flames of a bushveld fire for hours and hours on end without getting bored?

Ever wondered why you can sit and quietly stare at the ocean, watching wave after relentless wave crashing down and some wistfully lapping onto the shore?

wavesjpg

I listened to an interesting conversation during Easter that attempted to answer this phenomenon. In a nutshell it went like this: we, as human beings, are so mesmerized by the flickering flame (not because it gives “life” through the provision of heat or because it cooked the Neanderthal’s food). And we are so mesmerized by the relentless wave (not because of soothing ocean sound), but because of a very simple thing. And that is because no two flames are quite the same. And because no two waves are quite alike.

Think about it: ultimately, we know, deep down in our bones, that we (as individual) are very unique from every other single human being on this earth! I have my own thoughts, trapped in my little tiny scull – and amazingly enough, THAT human being over THERE, also has a myriad of thoughts and feelings and emotions and uniqueness trapped inside his/her body and mind!

So how on earth can I not admire the very uniqueness of the flame. A fire is such a simple thing (Neanderthal simplistic and uncomplicated), and yet at the same time it is such a unique thing! Same goes for waves – some  waves roll in with massive white walls stretching metres into the air, and then, amazingly, some of the waves following the massive waves are tiny waves which we can only laugh at. Not all waves crash onto the shore at the same speed: the intervals between waves varies – it is unpredictable. You get the point – simple, yet so unique. We don’t like predictable things: we yearn adventure and uniqueness! It is because we are so very unique.

The conversation and subsequent thoughts in my brain all converged and pointed to one thing – that God created us into these very unique beings; each with our own thoughts, feelings, desires, callings, faces, eyes, hair.

How amazingly creative is our God not!? How can we ever be bored with life when we have such an amazing Creator at the helm of our lives!?

 

Waves and God

 

The waves keep rumbling on,

Growling until they stutter and fall

Against sand: an unreachable barrier

They are relentless, unquenchable warriors

Launching assault after assault, but not prevailing

For they cannot breach the shoreline

 

Each wave is mesmerizing –

No two waves exactly alike

Like no two human souls are quite alike,

Each wave is made by Creator’s Hand

With uncanny and amazing creativity

With absolute attention to detail: precision

 

For God is the Creator of ultimate variety

Look around and behold the vast amount

Of uniqueness – billions of human souls

Billions of animals, birds, fish, flora

Billions of grains of sand

Billions of snowflakes

Billions of atoms floating around

Billions of stars

 

And then you want to convince me

That the universe created itself?

 

Written by Francois Hermanus Steyn – April 2016

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Racism must fall | Stop the chanting

South Africa is breaking my heart. Politics is driving a wedge between our diverse society. We are seeing different groups of people (the minority, the working class, the poor, the wealthy etc etc) banding together in solidarity – all of them chanting that racism must fall.

It is so ironic – to have groups chant the same thing (racism must fall), but nothing is actually happening. We are chanting that racism must fall, but we are not doing anything to make racism fall. I say we should stop chanting and that we should start holding hands. Start with your colleagues and in your neighbourhoods.

Chanting in Isolation

We chant and chant

Racism must fall!

Stand united!

We chant and chant

And they chant and chant

In their camps of white

In their camps of black

In their camps of indian

They chant and chant

We must stand together!

Lest we fall

We fail to realise that

We are already on our backs

As we chant and chant

In our isolated camps

Everyone is chanting on their own

In their solidarity

No-one is taking the helm

Too many are trying to take the helm

Politics can only serve

To keep us divided

Divided by race

Divided by ideals

Divided by wealth

 

We are divided by calls for unity

We can only be bound together

When we stop the chanting

When we start holding hands

 

February 2016 | Francois Hermanus Steyn

Keepers of the Earth

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Keepers of the Earth

 

Beneath the peaceful respite of shade

Several games are being played

Colourful hats point to crystal sky

With matching outfits of brilliant dyes

These shy creatures seldom encountered:

They joyfully gather while others slumber

Around their tree stump homes

A feast is prepared by gnomes.

They are the keepers of the Earth

Who’ve been around since Nature’s birth               

With age and epochs now a distant past

They have learnt that but a few things last:

Like the peaceful respite of shade –

That love and joy will always trump hate

 

Francois Hermanus Steyn – 2014

Pipe Dream

Pipe Dream

Come put your feet up weary traveler
Come wipe your glistening brow
Take respite from your toil and trouble
From your banal monotonous life
Step through the whimsical window and
Leave behind your cross and worries
Come look at the wares I offer
The goods, the gods your heart so desire
Let the numbing smoke fill your lungs
The sickly, sweet aroma of your pipe dream
Come enter the maze of your childhood dreams
Removed from all earthly responsibility
This opium is your divine right!
Anything is possible within this dream world
You need but inhale: the smoke, the fire
Let your eyelids fall like pillars of lead

This pipe will be your lullaby
Your escape from reality
And the chains holding you fast

Francois Hermanus Steyn – 2014

Awakening

I was recently introduced to a youtube channel that took my brain for a joyride. Jason Silva produces a web series called “Shots of Awe” and it is basically the injection of inspiration you need amidst the banality of an 8 to 5 life. The series presents thought-provoking ideas and philosophies and it presents the viewer with a challenge – life is lived at the edge of your comfort zone – human beings are addicted to new things – we are drawn to the aesthetic – we have a insatiable hunger for creativity and the artist’s visions. We  must go out, explore and be inspired by the world. You don’t need to live a perfect life, that’s not the point. The point is to revel in the beauty and the inspiration life provides us.

 

Shots of awe:

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UClYb9NpXnRemxYoWbcYANsA

 

Awakening

 

For countless moons this bear has hibernated –

Shackled to the granite floor of his mind,

Unable to find a window, an exit, doorknob

A slave to Western avarice and ideology

 

Sometimes he sees fleeting,

Haunting images of love lost

Of glinting olive eyes

In muted, starless night

Apathy, indifference had frozen artist within

And had tainted clear eyes with paralysis

 

In testing voyage the bear has slowly learnt

The difference between wasted loneliness

And the invigorating strength

Of liberating solitude –

He now wakes from his slumber,

Ravenous and with boundless thirst

 

It is time to shake the burden, the cross

To traverse the edge of complacency’s warmth

To destroy himself in order to transcend

And escape the banalities of mundane life

 

The bear has been roused

To become the philosopher

To become the voyager

To become the artist reborn

 

Francois Hermanus Steyn – 2014

Winter Blossom

Winter Blossom

winter blossom
melting my heart
as the chill sets in
around melancholic faces
my face lights up
like a beacon of fire

winter blossom
thawing my heart
I want to touch
petals of finest beauty
my eyes are alive
full of pure desire

winter blossom
flint to my heart
fan the ember
and give me life
but winter lingers
ever longer, cooling fire

oh the irony:
winter blossom
only thrives in snow
the romantic fool
will freeze to death
as he proclaims his
feelings atop
snowy mountain

Francois Hermanus Steyn – May 2013

Orange Flower

Parchment and Ink

I had a conversation the other day that was filled with darkness and light mingled with hope and fear. She used a beautiful expression that grabbed my attention and poet’s heart. One’s story and path can be likened to a book. The myriad of emotions, feelings, hopes, fears and ambitions can be likened to the ink on the pages of your book. The pages can be torn and withered, or crisp and clean without a smudge of ink. But these pages come and go, the darkness and light lives together. I believe that life is one continual chapter, with a bundle of clear and obscure and light and dark overlapping motifs and characters and experiences and revelations and resolutions.

 

Parchment and Ink

Cold bottle wavers uncertainly –
slowly, I gasp for breath
as the ink of emotion spills.
The ink of fear, ambition, hope.
The cadence of black feather tip
is interrupted with snaking veins.
Hiding my flaws result in smudges,
weathers, withers and blemishes.
It adds a haunting beauty
to the pages of my book:
a uniqueness discernible,
for it is my story, my ink.
I keep my book guarded,
lest the beautiful smears meet light.
I pause.
I unbound leather.
I reset bottle gingerly.
I dip feather and keep on writing.
Keep on writing the chapter of my life.

Francois Hermanus Steyn – January 2013