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Charl-Pierre Naudé

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Welcome to the CPN Blog

Charl-Pierre NaudéWelkom by my blog, almal. Dis ‘n vreugde om met julle te sit in my virtuele voorkamer. Pasop vir die trappie.

Two poems from Against the Light, my first collection of poems in English, out now from Protea Boekhuis:

Two thieves

That was the day I lost everything that was mine.
Cleaned out, ransacked, completely unexpected.
By two strangers, a young woman and a little girl.
There was a warning out on this latest tactic.
They use innocents, then ambush you from behind.
I heard the soft, shy knocks at my door.
Like a Visitation, from the Other Side.
Testing, of course, if somebody is home.
I waited for the crowbars, a bread knife in my hand.
Until the laughter left, the crystal sacrament.
In a flutter, like two pigeons from a silk bag.
But I remained prepared. I still don’t understand.
I heeded the warning. I knew they would return.
But none of this saved me from the terrible deception.
I opened the door, the knife behind my back.
They’d almost given up, the woman said.
Her daughter would like a leaf from my tree, because it’s silver.
I looked right past them for the danger
lurking behind, the reason for the decoy.
They were poor, but crowned with smiles.
Ask God for a leaf, it’s His tree, I said grumpily.
A man wanted to shoot us, the child said proudly;
oblivious to the fact that then she would be dead.
I watched them walk away, cloaked in their music.
Mother and daughter. With their miracle, their little leaf.
Nobody attacked me. Nothing else happened.
They robbed me blind, those two thieves.

Flyer for Against the LightAncestral Ground

A couple of years back I spent a weekend
on a deserted farm, in northeast Mpumalanga.
The world’s highest count of vertical lightning,
they say, occurs in this region.
The sky grows dark; silver and crimson –
and the crashing sounds begin. A tall tree
might catch fire. I was with my Berlin friend,
we were lovers at the time and far from
our little house when the storm started to gather.
She was homesick for her city, with its history of ashes …
Walking, we could feel the static loading
in our hair and in our clothes, the granite
blocks stacking up, in a world invisible.
The track wound slowly to an open plateau,
…………………………………a high ground
where the angry heavens would slaughter all movement.
A rumour, of an old leopard that roams …
Our hearts were pounding, but too late to turn back.
Not so long ago there was a halfway shack.
Pods rattled; a tinny sound, of charms in the trees.
Past a little skull that grinned on a stick.
You know about the curse, I said alarmed, in a joke.
She stopped dead: “We must go back!” and stretched out an arm –
the small hairs erect, roots pulling;
tugged at me, and started to run, a leggy blonde girl,
an exotic ostrich across ancestral ground
of a vanquished African tribe burnt field of black stubble
blood ground her dress flying up like the petals of a mad flower,
flashing the chalice. Me after. Drenched.
…………………………………Getting home,
eventually. Our candles were still burning.
But the place was a shambles: the tablecloth dragged,
glasses knocked over, plates everywhere.
A feral smell hung in the air. A wind, further in.
“Close everything!” I shouted. “Quick!” she matched.
We fastened the shutters, clunked on the door latches.
The clouds burst their seams. Hail and wind. Lashing
thunder. Safe now … Or not? We stood there dripping
with broad smiles like two river boats being launched.
Witchcraft … you run towards it, when you flee …
And thinking back, the shelter did not deliver us – we were
still on ancestors’ ground, exposed to its caprice.
Any two lovers naked are on ancestral ground.
The scavenger … was us, the human being, asking to be cared for.
………………………………… And the lightning?
The flaring bolts of the afternoon –
that happened between us on arriving home
on the plateau of the heart, where no one can hide?
That was just mercy. Simple mercy.


Recent comments:

  • pottie
    October 25th, 2010 @14:41 #

    Hi Charl- Pierre

    Mag ek vrae vra oor "Wat volgende?" Behandel dit nou met my graad 11 leerders?


  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">mikemullan</a>
    March 14th, 2011 @13:11 #

    FOUND YOU, ....

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">mikemullan</a>
    March 14th, 2011 @13:12 #


  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">mikemullan</a>
    March 14th, 2011 @13:21 #

    The way to write

    is to throw your body at the mark when all your arrows are spent.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Charl-Pierre</a>
    March 27th, 2011 @22:24 #

    Beste Pottie,

    Jy is absoluut welkom om my vrae te vra oor "Wat volgende". Jammer ek kom nou eers na jou terug. My e-posadres is

    (Ben, this is the first time I respond on Book SA, is this right? )

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Charl-Pierre</a>
    March 27th, 2011 @22:27 #

    O, jammer Pottie, ek sien nou eers dat jy my al in Oktober gesoek het. Hoop jy het reggekom.


  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Charl-Pierre</a>
    March 27th, 2011 @22:28 #

    Hallo Mike and Russel

    Nice quote that Mike. How are you doing? Hope your fine. My email is


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