23 February 2004

Master's graduate Sithembele Xhegwana released his first collection of poems in the book, Scatter the Shrilling Bones. Xhegwana qualified with a Master of Arts degree in creative writing in 2002. A large portion of the poetry was submitted as part of his thesis. He is preparing to do his doctorate in creative writing at the University of Fort Hare. Professor Lawrence Wright from the Institute for the Study of English in Africa describes Xhegwana's poetry as "redolent with what might be called flinching honesty". Here is one of the poems from his collection.

At the end of the journey

Will I lift up my hands
And scatter the shrilling bones
that lured me
The word of the stinking cow hide
The gulping of the dead legions.

I sought to be a cannibal
I built walls, I set bridges
I wanted to see myself -
In gleam of the dead tree
And the satiric movement
of water.

My chants were only sung
To raise myself above disorders
That only issues of predisposition
Could lay claim on.

Now, my demons play tricks
on my mind
The dead heroes I incited -
Theirs was a glory
never mine
An honour long sunk
In the dark sands of history.

Wind-whipped, I have to turn
my head backwards
The journey has ended
There are no more miles
to cover.

The fingers of my mind
will have to curl inwards
I will have to be content
that in the dark secrets
of history
my mind has no share.

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