Written on the Day of My Valedictory


Sunset view of my school grounds

Over the five years of my hostel life, I have often stared at the same little patch of sky which has graced me with a unique view of the world. What follows is an honest reflection of my opinion on emotions.


Tears and heartfelt passion can be very cathartic, but quite often they are exhausting and unnecessary. For those of us who were born with retentive tear ducts, the endless farewells and celebrations can be puzzling. It seems that people want to find a reason to be sad, and once one person starts sniffling in the crowd, all composure is lost and the floodgates of tearful heaven are cast asunder. I hope I am not as cold-hearted as I sound.


When we are emotionally-charged, it takes a lot of energy to keep ourselves in that state. Instead of bawling my eyes out or dwelling on the past, I simply believe that this energy is best channeled into something creative, and perhaps that is why writers and artists will often produce their best work after some triumph or tragedy. The well-known religious song ‘It is Well with My Soul’ was written by Horatio Spafford after losing his two-year old son in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, followed in 1873 by his four daughters who drowned with the sinking of the SS Ville du Havre.


As the excitement, weeping and endless excited talk of my last official day of high school drew to a close, I looked up once again at my familiar patch of sky and felt the urge to write. In view of the fact that Bob Dylan was recently awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature, I thought it only fitting to attempt creating my own useful product of catharsis. Now I don’t know about the standard of my work in light of greats like Spafford and Dylan, but nonetheless, this is what my own drifting thoughts produced:


Steadfast


The speckled leaves of each green-gold bush

Glow with a haze against the darkening sky

From one soft, billowy cloud, a flock of birds fly

And now others, on unhurried current, gently glide.

Far beyond, the dark pines stand, noble and tall,

Their bodies slanted by the years, for they have seen it all.

Generations come and go, down below, so small;

The pines have stood silent – waiting and watching.

They have witnessed the sky dance a thousand colours

Elusive pinks, deep purple and grey;

The canvas that glorifies the close of day.

Their black bodies stretch up, beyond our little realm.

Up, up, oblivious to our qualms,

They never look down

But are steadfast and fixed

On that distant brilliant blue.

For what reasons, like us, do they have to rue?

They reach for the spaces only they can see,

Whose Maker has the grace to let them be.


My school hockey field at dusk

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Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters of our lives won't have a title until much later.

– Bob Goff

© Rebecca Mqamelo 2020

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