Monday, December 16, 2013

"Twenty-seven Years"

Twenty-seven Years

My heart's a dry dessert
yearning for summer rain,
dreams forever
castles in the sky.

My song of Hallelujah
suppressed behind a mask,
emotions spill forth,
ink stained, smuggled out.

My nose touches yours,
photograph dusted,
youth, life, sacrificed,
my image myth-like -

but I'm just a man.

by Margaret Bednar, December 16, 2013

This is for "Imaginary Garden with Real Toad's - Nelson Rolihlala Mandela - In Memoriaam" I in no way want to misinterpret his life's message or the meaning of this man's life.  I tried to focus on a very human part we can all understand - being separated from family.  The above poem is my humble attempt of capturing a slice of this man's life while in prison - compiled from letters he wrote to his wife, Winnie - HERE.  I also snagged the two ending lines from his statement he delivered on April 13, 2992 HERE when he announced he and Comrade Nomzamo Winnie Mandela were divorcing.

Nelson Mandela was allowed one visitor a year for 30 minutes - one letter written, one received every six months.  He was a prisoner for 27 years!

His autobiography is "Long Walk to Freedom" which I plan on purchasing soon.

Here is an amazing link I am still reading and wading through about this man I really know little about.

A review by Roger Ebert of "Winnie Mandela".  I hesitate to watch it as I often dislike what Hollywood does with real-life stories.    There is also a movie based on his autobiography "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (2013) and it got a 72% liking from "Rotten Tomatoes".  Has anyone seen these movies?  Are they worthy of seeing - do they do the two justice?


Kerry O'Connor said...

I think you have touched on a very sensitive aspect of Mandela's (and any prisoner's) incarceration. His first wife, Winnie, has not been without controversy, but she fought tirelessly on her husband's behalf and I was pleased to see her sitting with his second wife at the funeral.

I have not watched either movies, the latter is only now being released in South Africa. I am in two minds about it, on the one hand I think it is a good thing to bring his story to the world, but on the other, it can never tell the whole story. I would suggest you read the autobiography and then watch the movie which will probably be something of a highlights package.

Thank you for returning to this challenge, Margaret. I am so glad that you did.

Laura said...

This is so powerful Margaret, and it is easier to mythologize a person to see them as a symbol than to dive into their very personal human struggles in a wholehearted way… not that we do not feel empathy, but to really imagine such a life/the interweaving of lives it is painful and challenging to imagine. Thank you for your beautiful poem.

Karen S. said...

Simply a beautiful tribute.

Grace said...

A different perspective Margaret, I like it. So tough to bear it for so long & I have read enough of both their lives to appreciate her (Winnie) efforts in trying to free her husband. It was good to see both wives so close and comforting each other during the funeral ~

Kenia Cris said...

Dreams forever, castles in the sky.

We've been there, haven't we? And no one can steal or question the things we've said and done in dreams.

This is a beautiful piece, thanks for sharing. :)

Vandana Sharma said...

nice tribute

Ginnie said...

I haven't seen the movies or read any of the books, Margaret, but I would certainly like to see or read what is "faithful" to him as a man and historical figure who changed his world. I watched the service for him last week and was very moved by him...and especially Maya Angelo's tribute to him on video. Many have said there will never be anyone else like him!

Sumana Roy said...

a wonderful tribute to a wonder-man....

Robert Bourne said...

you penned a wonderful poem and tribute...

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I love this reminder that he was "just a man"........he showed us what one man can do, with strength of conviction and a passion for justice. Great write, Margaret.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. I think you did a great job of capturing the 'man.' Especially like the lines "emotions spill forth / ink stained, smuggled out."

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tribute.

Kay L. Davies said...

An aspect of his life that has always made me shudder first, then admire. I can't imagine surviving three decades in such desolation...three weeks...perhaps, three years...maybe not.
It took strength of body and strength of mind, to come out not only no worse than he had been before, but distinctly better. He had been an angry young rebel, he came out a patient teacher, patriot, and then a world leader, although he hadn't aspired to a life in politics.
I hesitate to watch the two video links you provided, because I feel your poem has, so beautifully and succinctly, expressed a part of his life completely foreign to most people.

Fireblossom said...

I can't imagine surviving 27 years that way. Dear God.

Jannie Funster said...

I had no idea his incarceration was that harsh. Holy cow. 1 visitor a year for 30 minutes, OMG.

What a man. What a life.

And this poem is nothing short of beauty.

Much love to you, Dear Margaret.


Anonymous said...

really well done, Margaret ~