IMG_1710I have always loved poetry.  Over the years I have drawn inspiration from, found comfort in, and identified with so many poems, but never so much as when I was a teenager. I had a scrap-book filled with my favourites.

There is one that is haunting me at the moment. It is not about bullying, but I think every bullied or lonely child will be able to identify with it.  It is a poem about friendship and the enormous difference it can make to an isolated child.

The poem is in Afrikaans, so I have translated it into English.  I hope that I have done it justice. I have included the Afrikaans version below for those who wish to read it in the original.

The poem is called Omdat and it is by Antjie Krog.


My skinny hands light a candle for you, because you became my friend when, after a term, I was still sitting sombre, alone, among the others.

Because you fetch me from the library at break time to sing along to songs in the hall.

Because you remain my friend, in spite of my tattered shirt and nylon jersey.

Because you came to love me, and even hold be to your chest, in spite of my cellulite and the crust of ripe pimples across my cheeks.

My candle burns.

Because you walk barefoot with me through town and wait when I buy something at the supermarket.

Because you give me bread at lunchtime, teach me mathematics in the afternoon and sometimes run your hand over my clean hair.

Because you are my friend, and are resigned therein, even though everyone gossips about you being a boy and me being a girl.

Because you understand when I circle away from you and hide behind the curtains when you sing operetta.

Look now, how my candle quakes.

He says thank you, and he prays for you.

Listen here –

IMG_0686Find books by Antjie Krog here :