how to die repeatedly and how to live again

In Riebeek Kasteel,
at the bottom end of town
overlooking the vineyards
and the wondering blue mountains across the plain
are two places where one might
drop off a body once life is finished and klaar.

What is strange – or not
if you know this land –
is that they are right alongside each other:
the wealthy right there with the paupers.

But it is the wealthy who have been forgotten.
Their graves topped with shining granite
are a small city of hollow citadels, testament
to the deadliness of trying to breathe
through polished stones and carvings.

Next door, though, the hard orange earth and gravel mounds
covering the bones of the poor
abound with flowers and shrubs,
tumbling bougainvillea,
and bottles filled with water and colourful tokens.
Life here rolls on unceasing.
Even the unmarked weathered wooden
crosses carry a confident cheer
utterly absent amidst the unhappy granites next door.
If there were faint music, it would be life
dancing amongst these graves,
and hands of earth and rosehips swaying from beneath
calling amidst song that there is no rest when dead
if not in the hearts of the living.



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