“For all our Mrs Dalloways” by Janie Slabbert

These hours,
they’re young yet yellowed,
worn with the weight of a world
full of small wonders,
smaller worries,
and always that critical formulation
of the several selves
to greet the grocer,
the beggar,
the benevolent being.

As flustered moments are flung in passing,
we smile tautly when spotted
and chatter only to shatter
when scorching solitudes
allow us to probe
at every phrase,
every impression;
to see that behind the
stockings, silences,
skirts and sighs,
the made-up moments
that fit into daily moulds,
the finest frailties fear to be found
lest in light they crumble,
lest foreign eyes make light of them.

And they hold something profound,
these hours,
a fearlessness,
a reckless continuity.
Though clockwork conversations
will continue
in corners, in courtyards
in cars, in carriages,
for us these inept inklings
resembling insight,
these times, true or tarnished,
are tender,
are ours.


Janie Slabbert finds enjoyment in all things creative from writing poetry to illustrating. In her writing, she draws inspiration from fairy tales, classical mythology and her own life, emulating the confessional style of inflecting personal experience through images and stories. She is currently exploring the way in which women writers mediate experiences of sexual violence through elements in Greek and Roman myth for her Master’s research, a process that is significantly shaping her poetic voice.

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