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Dying Seasons
by Peter Ben-Israel

This extraordinary poem was written on April 2, 1999, the day of a bank robbery in Braamfontein, South Africa.

In the poet’s words, “I work in the building and was on my way to the escalator, two floors above, when the shots started ringing out. The first verse arrived while I was having my morning coffee, an hour before the murders took place.”

Dying Seasons

Plasmoid thump honest of Nino’s first cup
Lifeblood of new day this morning I sup
Sadness soft violined out on waking morn
Double bass treble supporting its horn
Stillness of Braamies not yet quite aroused
Autumn warns Highveld, yet summer’s not doused

Scarcely Her lifeclock ticked off one short hour
Scything flew bullets – two human lives soured
Deathly still victim – no lifebeat left, smashed
Moaning, his partner – their blood spilled for cash
Mother! Oh Mother, come silence the guns
Reraise your daughters, and rewean your sons

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