My translation of the beautiful and touching Afrikaans poem, Ma, by South African writer, Antjie Krog.
The original Afrikaans version can be found here:
Mom, I am writing you a poem
Without fancy punctuation
Without rhyming words
A barefoot poem
Because you bring me up
In your small, bent hands
You chisel me with your black eyes
And sharp words
You turn your limestone head
You laugh and break up my tents
But every night you offer me
To your Lord God
Your ear with the mole is my only telephone
Your house my only bible
Your name my breakwater against life
I am so sorry mommy
That I am not
What I so dearly want to be for you.
Afrikaans is a language that is made for poetry, and this poem simply sings and touches deep into the heart of a daughter’s love for her mother in it’s original form.
I sincerely hope I have done this work justice in carrying across the deep emotive voice of the author.