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Gathering in Hanover Street on Palm Sunday

St Marks, District Six Cape Town 2023

Dear friends and followers of my blog,

re Palm Sunday Poem District Six poem 2023
I wrote this poem on Palm Sunday past, perhaps the most creative thing I have done for a while. Here are a few notes for people in other parts of the world. Hanover Street was and is again the main street through District Six, the area that was bulldozed in the 1960s by the apartheid government and people displaced to other areas of the Western Cape.

The church and other places of worship have remained as the new buildings arrive and people trickle back far too slowly .

For a number of seasons the late Peter Krummeck playwrite and actor, who is mentioned in the poem performed The Passion at the Baxter theatre in Rondebosch. He used the Baxter’s many foyers and staircases to present the action and help so many of us to imagine the Passion.

The voice I hear at the end of the poem is that of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr, the great civil rights leader.

I share the poem with you, script and audio.

Gathering in Hanover Street on Palm Sunday
St Marks, District Six Cape Town 2023

The priest takes us across Hanover Street
We gather ourselves for the procession
some with palm branches all with crosses to raise
A low bank of cloud hangs like a dirty cloth
along a saddle from the Lion to the gun hill
The city is ugly from where we stand
grey and dark concrete columns to the sky
Across from us a village of shacks has assembled
tin and wood, foam and plastic coverings
to create the warmth and sleep inside
Above us and beyond the planets aligned
and satellites beam images
A township dog but all is silence there
A policeman watches from his car
they will invade the houses with colourful faces
the claimants aging and dying in other places
I remember looking down on the Crucifixion
in the Baxter theatre, a Krummeck play
It all seemed so parochial, the people too small
to shake the cosmos, but here we are…
The Christ is present in the morning faces
the incense rises, servers lead and the old hymn
All glory laud and honour to thee redeemer king
Some will ask why are we still doing this
Gasping as we sing we climb the hill
through the technicon to the stone church
Injustice and greed roll down
the mountains of the planet
Our week is on the way to the Scull
A thought that people no longer die
they simply pass on, only Jesus dies
In the church the palms spike to the rafters
and the man hangs too human in the sanctuary
enough to visit the dreams of children

I take the palm cross home and put it in my Bible
I hear a voice say, Love or perish.

One comment on “Gathering in Hanover Street on Palm Sunday

  1. Bruce Probyn says:

    Hi Bob Loved your poem.
    I took the palm cross you gave us at Herschel and put it in my Bible.


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