CAPE TOWN



High up on Ou Kaapse Weg

where the wind of change blows

I spy a provocative sight below,

a bitter sweet location:

opposite Pollsmoor lies Steenberg Estate

two cultures, lives and fates,

one of golf and green,

the other concrete and grey.

My eye wanders to the dusty east

of the flats, the mythologised beast,

where imagination grows as the detail fades,

lives invisible in the distant haze.



Hugging mountains regal, crowned with cloud

and blue skies unblemished by doubt,

the suburbs, oozing purse power

and grapes that rarely turn sour,

barely feel howls of a gail above

barely know Khayelitsha’s love,

detached from the festering rage.

Despite the threat of change

the larnies look anything but pale

as much as they might shout and rail

too snug, too close to the past to feel cold

too convinced by their story to be told.



Steenberg so close to the barbed life

suburbs so far from the flats’ strife

yet Polls apart, moor different than a common country:

glamour mixed with grime,

pleasure with poverty not aligned

rands with ruin as neighbours:

golfers doing the inmates no favours

labouring the fairways as they labour the years

the years observing snail change,

as platitudes try to hide the fears.



Indominatable, opaque and alluring,

Table Mountain continues to host the tourists –

holds firm against the times and weather

holds out against the future being better,

idealism now a wind-thinned leather.

A table on which the privileged feast

the tablecloth stained with old wine and cheese,

clouds of progress blown down the mountain

voices lost in the wind,

hopes pinned on 20 years and counting.



...lying behind the grey walls

when the barbiturate haze falls

nothing is felt but buttons and boredom

no green or well trimmed freedom

but the 28’s regal, crowned with lost years

’94 onwards political spin-smeared.



High up on Ou Kaapse Weg

trees are visibly leaning over.

but out on the flats

lives are invisibly leaning over.

Steenberg trees stand tall, erect

Golfers swing clean, undaunted.

 

Across the road

in another world slowed

people are pecked

by choices and history haunted.



CHARLES MARRIOTT