Poem For A Coral Reef by Yemu Matibe & Alungile Sixishe; Musique ExotiqueSeptember 27, 2010
Once you have seen the splendor of coral reefs it’s easy to imagine that this underwater world is so fragile. That their existence is linked immediately to climate change is an indicator of the ecological distress on the planet caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases.
High ocean temperatures are taxing the organisms most sensitive to them, the shallow-water corals that create some of the world’s most vibrant and colorful seascapes . Coral reefs also harbor perhaps a quarter of all marine species, including a profusion of fish. Worldwide, corals are reacting to the changing temperatures of the oceans by bleaching, or shredding their color and going into survival mode.
This process has been going on ever since 1983 when the first large-scale weather event known as El Nino hit the Eastern Pacific and the Caribbean. Serious regional bleaching has occurred intermittently ever since the 1983 disaster. And it looks like it’s not going to stop…*
*Excerpts from an article by Justin Gillis -The International Herald Tribune
So I feel that the time is right for a poem, a text I wrote on the beauty of coral reefs, ecosystems in peril. The translation from English to Xhosa was done by Lunga Heleni. The song was recorded in South Africa during February 2009 at Sonic Art studio in Grahamstown.
Young Xhosa singer Yemu Matibe who studies at Grahamstown’s Rhodes University sings the operatic parts and Alungile Sixishe recites the text. The song is based upon ‘Dido & Anaïs’ by Händel. Musical accompaniment by Brazilian guitarist Nelson Latif and South African maestro James Foerie on kalimba and percussion. Piano by Coen Molenaar, cello by Bonno Lange.
The extended version of ’Coral Reef ‘ from the album ‘Musique Exotique’ here.
P + © Ubuntu Publishing 2010. catalog nr. UP 2010.002 CD
(poem for a) Coral Reef -English lyrics
Eternal source of color and light
a world without seasons
a world without reason
no day nor night
flowers born out of rock and sand
a garden untouched by human hand
rays of light break thru emerald
fish disappearing in deep blue depths
clouds of silver shimmering
vibrating pulse of life
thru misty depths of deep dark
full of unseen creatures
that crawl along the bottom
hide in cracks and holes of the reef
change color quickly
hide in a cloud of inky water
down here floating over the coral reef
this deafening silence that surrounds me
once man has seen this beauty
will he understand his own belief?
(poem for a) Coral Reef -Ikorale yoqaqa lolwandle -Xhosa lyrics
translated by Lunga Heleni
Mthombo wanaphakade wombala nokhanyo
Ilizwe ngaphandle kwamaxesha onyaka
Ilizwe ngaphandle kwezizathu
Kungekho suku nabusuku
Zintyatyamb’ ezizelelw’ ematyeni nasesantini
Sitiya esingachukunyiswanga sandla samntu
Matha okhanyo aqhekeza ngapha kwe – emeraldi
Ntlanzi ezinyamalalela kwiinzulw’ eziluhlaza
Mafu esilivere amenyezelayo
Intontozo esukumayo yobomi
Kwiinzulu ezinkungwana zobunzul’ obumnyama
Zizele zizilo ezingekabonwa
Zikhasela kumazantsi olwandle
Zizimele kumathanda nasemingxunyeni yoqaqa lolwandle
Zijik’ umbala msinyane
Zizimele kwilifu lamanz’ aluzizi
Ezantsi apha zidada ngaphaya kwekorale yolwandle
Lenzolw’ ibang’ ubuthul’ obundingqongayo
Xa umntu ethe wabona obubuhle
Angayiqonda na eyakhe inkolelo?
© Eddy De Clercq/Ubuntu Publishing 2010