Economics, Literature and Scepticism

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I am a PhD student in Economics. I am originally from South Africa and plan to return there after my PhD. I completed my M. Comm in Economics and my MA In Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Cape Town, where I worked as a lecturer before starting my PhD.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Echoes of my Voice

Posted by Simon Halliday | Tuesday, January 17, 2006 | Category: |

Some more recent poetry. Who knows what it may mean, don't take it too seriously.

Noah's Son1 13.01.06

It had been a hard night's work, as hard as rain-drenched hair against

the scalp as we watched water rising around us, and harder still than

watching the fires and idols and feeling the doubt that surrounded us

as we worked. It would have been easier had we worked with light

but the clouds had made that more than a polite request to God

so we laid it to rest in search of things of greater levity for Him that

would bind us all the closer before rest, before light could come to

us and, before anything else, the rain would teach us, my father, us

a smattering of humility. Not that we were arrogant, but we felt

vindicated as the waters rose around us, while animals screeched

in consternation at the rocking of the floors beneath them. They felt

it more for the dissolution of their packs, or a herd no longer formed

and we felt that too, seeing the hordes of men and women calling

to us in vain attempts at gaining father's mercy, he who they had scorned,

insulted and sabotaged in spite. And, in their faithlessness, they suffered.

The consequences all the more confusing because of the doubt their:

inability to understand why any god, our God would do this, and

in support of them I suggest a moment in which I felt the same

Why God? Why should we all suffer these deaths? Why this incessant

rain that bruises my skin, makes my wife cry with fear and longing for

warmth? Why? But that was not for us to know. Punishment or

education, or maybe some Diving cleansing, the reasons were not

and can never be for us to know. I cannot tell you how the sight of

and olive branch could ever be so potent as to restore my damaged faith.

Voyeurism 13.01.06

You giggle as the

staffie toddles along

on legs to slender

to carry its bulk

you say that he’s a bit stocky

or you look at the

Jack Russell all nose-twitching

alert and scurrying from your

hand back to known ankles

but it makes you just slightly sad

that you are so ‘global’

moving to and fro and

unable to own a dog

instead you caress my cheek

stroke my hair and

tell me you love me

I am here and you have briefly

returned to me

and, sadly for me, like

the animals I cannot

go with you



I move from

a slender hand

script in its descent

onto the page lonely as

it once was, pointed

as it now tries

to be

the petals

falling from

the flowers of the

magnolia tree cutting

through the air beneath

them and through

separateness of

you and him:

time – you

and me

Parted 15.01.06

I know that I am difficult

that my seriousness is

oppressive on this joy

you so immediately feel

but it is difficult to contain

my envy of something I have

been unable to achieve:

this happiness in you

brought on by the appearance

of one entirely unknown to me

friends across the sea mean

more than my parochial simplicity

Undesired 15.01.06

it is in the ways you

neither look at me

nor touch me, in the

way in which certain

conversations are


leaves rubbed off

on a welcome mat

yet still you make

attempts at affection

as though duty-bound

and god how I never

wanted to be a duty

ironing shirts and sweeping

already clean floors

and my voices clamour

in my head: dejected,

frustrated and craving

your desire

Delect 16.01.06

I search for oblivion

in the tragedy of


oblivion: time

without thought

action or emotion

the melancholy does

not have direction

it takes me neither

up nor down

it is not a heavy

heart but a bursting

of the blood vessels

that carried my life

in seeing red, in seeing

the dripping of my life

from the eaves of what

was my context

from there is birthed

my taste of oblivion

and how I wish that

it would last

1Noah had three sons, Canaan, Shem and Japheth, which one this may be is up to you.

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