Posted by: tsopr | March 20, 2011

Rishan Singh, South African Poet

Rishan Singh was born in Durban, South Africa. He is presently based at the Durban University of Technology and his poetry has been published.

                                Featured Poetry of Rishan Singh

Day In China

I walk through the busy roads
of China, through grasslands
surrounding my home in Xinjiang Uygar.
Admiring the livestock grazing,
I write a poem on China.
Asian, but an alien,
the shape of my eyes speaks their language.

I enjoy a little dog stew
and lots of shark fin soup –
the great cuisine of
a local restaurant in Xi’an –
a many rock of buildings
that paints in my mind
the vividness of Rome.
I put down my chopsticks, and
wipe my hands on the napkin on my stomach
I smell tobacco from the fields around,
as I put some sugar in
the famous China tea.
A nearby vendor comes up to me,
asking to buy spices, tea, raw silk and sugar;
and British traders, wanting to buy
some Chinese porcelain,
but the vendor, Chang,
wants opium in return.
There were no Indian traders in his sight.

I turned around and got ready to go home.
Gathered from the love and excitement;
a headache, I developed.
I met Xue, he gave me some
traditional medicines,
and in seconds I was cured.

I returned to my palace,
then sprayed some plants with camphor,
and varnished some wood
with lacquer tree resin.
I contemplated, in my mind,
a trip to a forest, where the karma sutra
starts a monsoon of rains
on its own.
I think of animals surrounding me: bear, tiger, crane, ape, monkey, antelope,
pheasant, porpoise, reindeer, and musk deer;
as if I was in a jungle in China Town.
I continue to walk through the busy roads
of China, now, having discovered my image,
with a finger on my identity.

The Blood That Pours From My Pen: The Freedom Charter Adopted


The bloodbath of 1960 at Sharpeville, unearthed –
re-lived this day, the 21 March,
remembering the 69 people killed,
while lifting our heads up high,
with human dignity.
A triumphant of multi-national cultures,
shedding the light into 15 years
of South African democracy.
‘Thank you, Madiba’


The lessons learnt,
brought about changes in progress,
remarkable ones made:
free health care,
free educational opportunities,
clean water supply,
caring, and food hampers to the poor,
to starved children – heightening mental capacity –
striving to, and becoming, the best of our nation.
creating income though electricity provision.

Rescued –
Abused women and children –
(within families – the Carnage… … … …).

[The Truth and Reconciliation Commission]


Male and female,
Black and White and Coloured and Indian,
South African and not,
We now have universal natural rights,
Our Celebration of Human Rights Day,
Our freedom to speak
across the apartheid barriers.


we can look up to the sky,
smile, rest and reminisce about those days,
as we turn away, facing them, wiping our tears,
keeping them in thought,
harboring them in South African Blood
and the sand we walk on –
to a path of eternal bliss.
Eish (laughs), the milestones reached by
this rainbow nation though nation-building – Amazing.

My Love For You

My heart can only express,
my feelings,
my gestures,
my wants,
– for you, my love.

My feelings overwhelm desires,
a love so sweet,

My love for you,
makes me nervous,
do you ever forgive?
do you ever give?
do you ever thrive?
– for my love, Love.

My love for you,
is like an ocean.
Do you oversee my mistakes?
of being too wide and,
by flooding my thoughts.
Do you oversee an excuse?
of being nasty at times,
if not feisty.
Would you ever delete a lie?
of being bigger than I really am.
– for me, my love.

My love for you,
is a sight seen in my eyes,
sought by love.
A sadness combined with coyness –
a slight redness –
a beautiful exuberance.
My heart can only gesture,
my encapturing beauty,
your strong physic,
as you make love to me,
while my body,
craves the passion indefinable,
touching my body,
glowing my every being.

Someday I Shall Fly Into The Deep Blue Sky

Someday I shall fly into the deep blue sky like a bird.
I shall fly with the colorful birds,
and all the other creatures that love to have freedom.
I would fly with no worry,
I would fly amongst the clouds,
which is said to have a silver lining.

Someday I shall fly into the deep blue sky like a bird.
I shall fly to the heavens,
and greet all the departed souls.
I would fly without fear,
for, I now have my freedom.
I would long for the upper friendship with the other creatures,
that is neglected by people.

Someday I shall fly into the deep blue sky like a bird.
I shall fly through the clouds,
and feel the cold in my new world.
I would fly with no protection,
I would fly amongst my new friends,
that is loving.

Someday I shall fly into the deep blue sky like a bird.
I shall be with God,
And feel comforted with him.
I would then fly away from home,
and I shall never return.
My owner can forget me,
for all I need is this freedom.

Someday I shall fly into the deep blue sky like a bird.
All this, I would do with grace and peace.
But, I would long to my old life.
Birds are wonderful to be neglected,
Well, that’s what people think.
Shame on humans,
for they don’t understand nature.
‘All birds want is a little bit of freedom.’

So Soft Is The Wind…

As the leaves fall again during autumn;
I can’t help stop imagining how fast,
time has left me behind.
So soft is the wind,
like ones life which is simple but uncertain.

I remember the joyous days when he was alive.
Every weekend outings with him,
as if I was the leaf blowing in the wind,
for so soft is the wind…
Not a moment of sadness…we’d play and play,
for no more, until we half asleep.
Laugher then was never forgotten.

Now all is different…
Just staying all alone is enough;
to drive me nuts.
God, I’d pray everyday for some return,
But, I knew it was impossible.
His last breath, his children saw, not me.
I thank God for that, but when I look of that;
frame I can’t stop rekindling those lost words.
Word so soft and gentle like the wind.

As for those holiday resorts,
my own family hadn’t taken me along.
I was one of his sons, that’s what I was said to be,
to him.
Now he’s like God in my sitting room.
I stare at him and ask a million questions;
but I find no solutions.
He was a good advisor, intelligent too.
He taught me all about fun,
but those lessons are now blown away by;
the gentle wind of time,
So soft is the wind…

I was never allowed to cry, only smile,
only tears of laughter returned to me, then.
In my dreams, I never saw him…
but my heart broke even though, I didn’t want to.
Somehow, I can’t put all the pieces together.
My dreams still hold, today.
They have been blown towards me by his trust.
Very fond of me, he was.
All is gone now,
but there’s still something to live for,
that’s the hope that he would return someday.
Enjoy life while you can, in your way,
for so soft is the wind…

The FIFA World Cup 2010

Violence and crime.
Rape and poverty.
Food shortage.
Health problems.
Disease manifestations.
They were warned.

but Oh sweet Africa,
so proudly, you blinded their eyes.
Your striking sun rays
and fresh rough rains
make me think
about the monsoon of India.

Completed stadiums
and better infrastructure.
Pap and putu.
Burgers or curry –
the champions arrived
to walk on the rainbow colours,
laid out like royalty.
We blew vuvuzella
and impersonated the Zakumi.

but Oh sweet Africa,
you opened our eyes
by your acclaim so astonishing;
like an acolyte away from heaven to adore,
from dawn to dusk.

Some unaware of his great deeds,
who too may be unknown to him;
they witnessed the work of arms and hands,
once imprisoned –
now frail and dense.
The mind of a man so great,
far and wide. Madiba.

Hahlala Madiba! Hahlala.

Sweet Africa! Sweet South Africa!
they were here to see their roots;
to taste your fresh fruit, and
walk our shores.
They were here!
‘Oh yes, they were here…” (gratitude).
We bowed our heads.
We never smiled.
We didn’t laugh.
We just flooded back;
Them interspersing into Zulu heritage,
a reflection of that transparent barrier.

Thirty one days of Actuation, Gone!
Paul, that non-processed psychic octopus,
the referees and coaches.
The warnings to the aliens,
‘be studious’
A tap on the back
Thumbs up.

but Oh Africa,
why were you so sad –
were you crying at them or me?
were you cloudy at us or them.
Why were you so disappointed?
(They blew vuvuzellas and smiled)
Oh Africa!
Oh Africa!

(11 July 2010)
You shone as bright as ever,
something done, we thought you’d do never.
Our oceans were still,
and through our fingers,
the sand sifted.

We didn’t hear vuvuzellas;
it was gone with them.

Copyright © 2011 Rishan Singh


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