video voice search contact pen art photos projects home home news

Bruce Damer: Poetry

To Robben Island

I am on the way to Robben Island
where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in cell #5
freezing in his short pants and starving slowly on mealy pap.
He would be transformed by the place into a clear-eyed wizened old man
emerging to fill artists conceptions and the shoes of the presidency.

In the Cape Times I bought for the crossing to this cold, grey island
I read about Nelson's recent visit with a Colonel Prinsloo
who was commandant fo the prison
when Nelson and his comrades were incarcerated.

The Colonel was overwhelmed by this act of supreme forgiveness
and could hardly speak
as his wife said "dear, please stop crying".
Nelson thanked the Colonel for sticking to regulations
and supporting their appeals for better conditions and long pants.

The Colonel apologized
for their thirteen years in the lime quarries
where many prisoners were blinded and sickened cracking the white rocks.
The two parted company with the Colonel's gift of a bible
written in Xhosa, Nelson's tribal language.

And with this simple act
these two old men lifted the hearts of a nation
embodied hope for Africa
and showed us what human beings can be.

Bruce Damer
Boulder Creek, May 1, 1998

Jonathan Livingston Slug

Looking through my window
at the great redwood
I noticed a sliver of yellow
between the slabs of bark.

A Banana slug
mascot of these parts
moving ever so slowly upwards,
a lifetime dedicated to reach a greater height.

I spy him/her/it at 120 feet
and then through binoculars at 200
and at 205 he is bathed full body by sunlight
for the first time in the species.

And in that moment
with all 22 neurons firing
Jonathan Livingston Slug
attains a simple but pure form of enlightenment

Bruce Damer
Boulder Creek, March 1995

Back to Index of Fiction and Nonfiction Writing

Click here to contact Bruce or send comments on this website.

[ home | news | projects | photos | art | pen | voice | vid | contact | search ]

(cc) 1996- Bruce Damer... want to use something from this site? See rights granted under my Creative Commons license and contact me.