Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

From The Tempest: Miranda and Ferdinand playing chess

Image: Wikipedia
The Chess Players attributed to Karel van Mander. This was identified in 1916 as an image of Ben Jonson and Shakespeare playing chess. Most scholars consider this to be pure speculation, but the claim was revived in 2004 by Jeffrey Netto, who argued that the chess game symbolises “the well known professional rivalry between these figures in terms of a battle of wits”.

Update: 2016 – Shakespeare died 400 years ago and today is Shakespeare day! I’ve decided to repost an entry of 4 years ago. Please enjoy my ‘contribution’ to Shakespeare day. The following is my entry of 2012.

I’ve written another cento – I had to, because it’s a chess one! I’ve taken again Shakespeare lines – like my Moonrider-cento , where I also used Shakespeare. A cento is a form of poetry, where you use lines of different poems. In this case [like Moonrider], I’ve used lines of Shakespeare’s works – and not different poems. This cento was much easier to put together than Moonrider, as they are shorter lines and I didn’t really spent that much time thinking how to merge it into a poem that makes sense. I couldn’t give it a title other than ‘A Game of Chess’. I have made minor changes here and there – to the word order or adding of an exclamation mark – just for effect. This ‘poem‘ is almost like a dialogue – as it’s various characters speaking in role from Shakespeare’s plays.

A Game of Chess
Sweet lord, you play me false
For a score of kingdoms you should wrangle
and I would call it fair play
How fares the king?
His hour is almost past

A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!
And I have horse – will follow where the game makes way.
I have his horse!
Give me another horse!
So, the good horse is mine.
My day’s delight is past, my horse is gone.
The rascal hath removed my horse.

Are the knights ready to begin their triumph?
A wandering knight?
I am undone! The knight is here!
Great shouts within all cry ‘the mean knight!’
Great is the humour of this dreadful knight.

I dare thereupon pawn
My life I never held but as a pawn
I have not pawn’d to you my majesty?
I pawn’d thee none!
I’ll send some bishop to entreat
The bishop will be overborne by thee
Wat says my bully rook?

There stands my castle!
His queen, it was his queen!
Queen of queens, how far dost thou excel?
Come hither, come! Come, come, and take a queen
Sir your queen must overboard!
Will take your queen
Farewell sweet queen!

I’ll move the king.
The skipping king, he ambles up and down
This may gall him for some check
No mates for you!
We’ll draw!
My lord, your son drew my master
Where’s the master? Play the men!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown 

[Shakespeare-lines -]
Click on this link to read more about the Cento and to read what Folger Education think about my cento. I feel humble – you can view their comments in their comments box. Thank you!

–Click on this link to see the complete list of chess quotes with the references to the works of Shakespeare.

Enjoy Shakespeare day with some chess dancing!

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This is one of my own poems. It is a cento. A cento is a poem written using other author’s lines or passages. This ‘cento’ though has been written using my own poems. The poems I used are all from my Afrikaans poems. I do write English too, but as I said before, it’s just playing with words. I don’t try to be professional. I decided a few years ago to do my ‘bit’ for Afrikaans on the 14th August every year. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen last year and I couldn’t let another year go by without having one on this day! This is the history behind the 14th August.

The Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners (Afrikaans for “Society of Real Afrikaners”) was formed on 14 August 1875 in the town of Paarl by a group of Afrikaans speakers from the current Western Cape region. From 15 January 1876 the society published a journal in Afrikaans called Die Afrikaanse Patriot (“The Afrikaans Patriot”) as well as a number of books, including grammars, dictionaries, religious material and histories. Die Afrikaanse Patriot was succeeded in 1905 by today’s Paarl newspaper. You can read more about this Society on this link on the site of Wikipedia.

If you are Afrikaans,  I hope you enjoy these couple of lines.


My siel op haelwit wolke

In gietende reën sypel my gedagtes: eindloos!
Ek stuur vir jou die goud
van sondeurdrenkte landskappe
in die galery van my stille gemoed.
My opgevoude gedagtes steek vas
en onderhou my geheue
wat onvermydelik verstrengel is
en soos gister
vind jy my siel op haelwit wolke;
my gedagtes wentel om die aura van my taal
en rol ragfyn ligstraaltjies voor my uit:
wat die tuimelende bergstilte
laat rol oor die dansende blou waters
na die holtes van my gedagtes.

==Nikita 14/08/2015 

Mantovani is one of my real big favourites. On this video you’ll find a whole library of his music to keep you company. I hope you enjoy!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you would know that I do play chess myself too. I’ve blogged quite a few chess games in the past. This is one of my most recent chess games on chess.com Time is little to play rated chess games and I was tricked into this game, but managed to escape the worst. Rated games involve more concentration and I tend to play friendlies just for fun and I feel I can ‘escape’ or shut down from normal work and enjoy the game. 

I like how I managed to checkmate my opponent, though he was very close to checkmate me! I played white in this game – not my favourite colour, as I discovered I play better games when I play black. If you are interested, please click here to play through the game. If you are a chess player yourself, please feel free to leave a comment and Dan, if you read here, you might want to analyse my game…hehe.

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Picture from FB: Mother with her dead child – Boer War: Concentration camps. I was so shocked when I saw this picture. How this mother must have felt and the poor little kids. This is what went through my mind:

The camp
White tents like white ant hills.
Strange, awkward stenches fill the war-torn air
Weak, though proud, with no disinfectant
Sitting around in poverty: deprived!
Waiting for food. Waiting for water.
Humiliation. Disgrace. Filth.
Dead bodies carried along white rows
They don’t care, they don’t think!
They can’t think. They  just kill!
The pain inside: it cuts deep, very deep.
No sound. No breath. No life.
No words. No food. Only thoughts.
Only thoughts. Only Blue vitriol.
Children crying, children dying

Hunger screams, hunger wails
Endless waiting.  Timeless prayers.
Shock. Horror. Pain.
Forgotten lives.
Panic. Fright. Terror.
God! My child is dead!
Footsteps. No words.
Empty arms. Eyes watching.
Not my child!
Patience because:
‘Another seepkissie will arrive soon.’

Nikita 22/8/2013

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image: googleimages

A poem consisting only of lines from other poems. This, from the Italian word for patchwork, is almost a technique rather than a form, especially as it can be of any length, and any metre, and need not rhyme; however, as the finished poem is referred to as a cento, just as a sonnet is called a sonnet, it is a form.

This is not my own poem. It’s actually not even a ‘real’ poem. All these lines are Shakespeare’s writing. What I’ve done, was to take lines – with the same theme, which is the moon, and put them together – and I was trying to get it to make sense. The title is my own though, of course. This is what  you call a ‘cento.’

I do love Shakespeare and my favourite is Hamlet, maybe because it was the book prescribed when it was my matric-year. It was always a nightmare, having to study Shakespeare and knowing all those quotes – I think I studied about 50 of the quotes. We had to know from what Act/Scene the quote was and you never knew which quotes you would get, but even that didn’t put me off from Shakespeare.


The pale-faced moon looks bloody on the earth
It is the very error of the moon
Swifter than the wandering moon
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon
This old moon wanes!
She lingers my desires

Sweet moon, I thank thee for they sunny beams
So many journeys
That I, being govern’d by the waterymoon
Of the extreme verge:
for all beneath the moon
You moonshine revellers and shades of night
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!

Another moon: but, o, methinks, how slow
And the moon changes even as your mind
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun
Chanting faint hymns to the cold fruitless moon
My lord, I am a mile beyond the moon

-Shakespeare-‘lines’ (c) Nikita

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Adam Ladds spotted this poem chalked on the pavement at the western end of Fordhook Avenue W5 in Ealing – West London. It’s written ‘upwards’ so you can read it as you walk along.

Love on the Streets

Sometimes it’s faded and harder to see,
Sometimes not looking, it jumps out at me,
But it always is there, right under your feet,
As you walk through the world, there is love on these streets.

By Ella Grace, 2012

I quite like this ceativity of a person taking an idea and see what the ‘world’ makes of it. This is great/romantic. This was written on the day of Valentine’s Day. We lived near Ealing till about 3 years ago.



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It was National Poetry Day today in the ukay and I want to share this song by Steve Hofmeyr to celebrate poetry, not just in the ukay, but everywhere. Do listen to the words of this song – beautiful!  Poetry, love and music…touching the strings of my heart.[and of course…chess!]
If you like this song, click
here to listen to more songs from a variety of artists and to read a few love poems in English as well as in Afrikaans.

[Sorry, I’ve removed the song due to another site getting people to download it from my site..that is illegal]
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 Image: Wikimedia

‘n Blogger het my vandag gevra na “Die Elwekoning”…sien haar boodskap op “my gedigte/poems”-bladsy. Ek kon geen spoor van die gedig, in Afrikaans vertaal, kry nie. Dit was vir my ‘n aangrypende gedig toe ek dit in Engels lees en het ek besluit ek vertaal dit gou vir haar. 

English readers: I’ve translated this Goethe-poem in Afrikaans for a blog-reader. As a rule I don’t like to translate, only if the poem is really touchy or if it “speaks” to me…almost like this Erl King-poem. On “my poems/gedigte” page you will find a few translations…English to Afrikaans vice versa and a few of my own which I tried. I’m no professional, I have done no particular course in writing poetry, so WYSIWYG…what you see is what you get. Just my own thoughts in words.

Die Elwe-Koning
Wie ry daar so laat deur die donker, somb’re nag?
Dis ‘n vader met sy kind
Hy hou die knaap klemmend in sy arm
Hy hou hom veilig, hy hou hom warm.

“My seun, waarom lyk jy so beangs?”
“Sien vader nie die Elwekoning nie?
 Die Elwekoning met sy kroon en trein?”
“My liewe kind, dis mis wat opstoot in die vlakte.”

“Kom nou, liewe kind, kom nou saam met my
Ek het lekker speletjies om met jou te speel.
Lieflike blomme blom op die strand,
My moeder het baie kledingstukke van goud.”

“My vader, my vader, hoor jy nie die
 beloftes wat die Elwekoning fluister vir my?”
“Wees rustig  my kind, bedaar, dis die
 nagtelike wind se ritseling deur gedroogde blaar’ .”

“Wil jy nie saam met my kom, my seun?
My dogters sal jou liefderyk versorg,
My dogters dans hul nagtelike dans
Hul sal jou wieg totdat jy slaap.”

“My vader, my vader, sien jy nie daar?
Die Elwekoning-dogters in die donker daar?”
“My seun, my seun, ek sien duidelik
hoe grys die wilgerbome lyk.”

“Ek’s lief vir jou, jou skoonheid bekoor my, my seun.
En as jy nie gewillig is, dan moet ek jou forseer!”
“Nee vader, my vader, hy gryp my arm!
Die Elwekoning het my seer gemaak!”

Die pa sidder, sy ry is wild
In sy arms hou hy die kermende kind
Hy kom tuis met ‘n geswoeg en gesweet
In sy arms – die lewelose kind.

Oorspronklike gedig deur Goethe

Oeps! Hier het ek so pas die vertaling van SJ du Toit op Litnet opgespoor..waarom kon ek dit nie twee dae terug kry nie? Omdat ek Elwekoning twee woorde gespel het! ..wel, nou kan jy my vertaling vergelyk en natuurlik sien waarom ek nie ‘n digter is nie! hehe
Die Elwekoning
Wie ry daar so laat deur nag en wind?
Dit is ‘n vader met sy kind;
Hy druk die knapie so styf in die arm,
Hy hou hom veilig, hy koester hom warm.

“My seuntjie berg bang sy gesiggie, vir wie?”
“Sien Vader die Elwekoning dan nie?
Die Elwekoning met mantel en sleep?”
“My kind, dit is ‘n newelstreep.”

“Kom, kindjielief, kom saam met my!
So heerlik speel hul waar ek bly;
Veelkleurige blomme groei op die strand,
Van goud gaan jou kleed wees uit moeder se hand.”-

“My Pappie, is Pappie dan heeltemal doof
Vir wat Elwekoning my saggies beloof?”
“Bly stil, wees rustig maar, my kind!
In dorre blare duisel die wind.”-

“Gaan jy, lief seuntjie, met my saam?
My dogters ken almal reeds jou naam;
My dogters dans voor die nagt’like rei
En wieg jou en dans en sing so bly.” –

“My Vader, kan Vader dan glad nie gewaar
Elwekonig se dogters in die donker kol daar?”
“My seuntjie, my seuntjie, ek sien dit heel goed:
Die ou-gras skyn geel aan die randjie se voet?”

“Jou skoonheid bemin ek, my siel is ontsteld;
En as jy nie wil nie, gebruik ek geweld!”
“My Pappie, my Pappie, nou vat hy my raak!
Elwekoning het my seer gemaak!”

Die vader skrik; hy ry soos die wind,
En hou in sy arms die kreunende kind,
Bereik sy plaas in bange nood;
Die kind lê in sy arms dood.
Vertaling – SJ du Toit

erl dancers

The Erl-King

WHO rides there so late through the night dark and drear?
The father it is, with his infant so dear;
He holdeth the boy tightly clasp’d in his arm,
He holdeth him safely, he keepeth him warm.

“My son, wherefore seek’st thou thy face thus to hide?”
“Look, father, the Erl-King is close by our side!
Dost see not the Erl-King, with crown and with train?”
“My son, ’tis the mist rising over the plain.”

“Oh, come, thou dear infant! oh come thou with me!
Full many a game I will play there with thee;
On my strand, lovely flowers their blossoms unfold,
My mother shall grace thee with garments of gold.”

“My father, my father, and dost thou not hear
The words that the Erl-King now breathes in mine ear?”
“Be calm, dearest child, ’tis thy fancy deceives;
‘Tis the sad wind that sighs through the withering leaves.”

“Wilt go, then, dear infant, wilt go with me there?
My daughters shall tend thee with sisterly care
My daughters by night their glad festival keep,
They’ll dance thee, and rock thee, and sing thee to sleep.”

“My father, my father, and dost thou not see,
How the Erl-King his daughters has brought here for me?”
“My darling, my darling, I see it aright,
‘Tis the aged grey willows deceiving thy sight.”

“I love thee, I’m charm’d by thy beauty, dear boy!
And if thou’rt unwilling, then force I’ll employ.”
“My father, my father, he seizes me fast,
Full sorely the Erl-King has hurt me at last.”

The father now gallops, with terror half wild,
He grasps in his arms the poor shuddering child;
He reaches his courtyard with toil and with dread,–
The child in his arms finds he motionless, dead.

Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind?
Es ist der Vater mit seinem Kind.
Er hat den Knaben wohl in dem Arm,
Er faßt ihn sicher, er hält ihn warm.

Mein Sohn, was birgst du so bang dein Gesicht?
Siehst Vater, du den Erlkönig nicht!
Den Erlenkönig mit Kron’ und Schweif?
Mein Sohn, es ist ein Nebelstreif.

Du liebes Kind, komm geh’ mit mir!
Gar schöne Spiele, spiel ich mit dir,
Manch bunte Blumen sind an dem Strand,
Meine Mutter hat manch gülden Gewand.

Mein Vater, mein Vater, und hörest du nicht,
Was Erlenkönig mir leise verspricht?
Sei ruhig, bleibe ruhig, mein Kind,
In dürren Blättern säuselt der Wind.

Willst feiner Knabe du mit mir geh’n?
Meine Töchter sollen dich warten schön,
Meine Töchter führen den nächtlichen Reihn
Und wiegen und tanzen und singen dich ein.

Mein Vater, mein Vater, und siehst du nicht dort
Erlkönigs Töchter am düsteren Ort?
Mein Sohn, mein Sohn, ich seh’es genau:
Es scheinen die alten Weiden so grau.

Ich lieb dich, mich reizt deine schöne Gestalt,
Und bist du nicht willig, so brauch ich Gewalt!
Mein Vater, mein Vater, jetzt faßt er mich an,
Erlkönig hat mir ein Leids getan.

Dem Vater grauset’s, er reitet geschwind,
Er hält in den Armen das ächzende Kind,
Erreicht den Hof mit Mühe und Not,
In seinen Armen das Kind war tot.

(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1778)

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