Poetry by Sihle Ntuli

Something in the Water

there is something down there,
biding its time / under a bridge / I struggle to cross

indecipherable  language of  rivers
serenades of running water / intuition an unreliable guide

in hushed tones / a soft voice leads me in  / for a closer look

from the distance  I appear as if leaning in
to the river to drink /  & this would not be
that far removed from the truth

for I  can barely remember  the last time
I fell to my knees / & began to pray.



in my neighbourhood,
there are  four churches
all on one road,
each one not too far from where I live
& yet still I find myself unable
to attend a single one.
the road gets so awful on a Sunday morning
that I have even resorted to
placing  bricks in front of our driveway
to block churchgoers from parking their cars
directly in front of our lawn.
lately I have begun to notice
that the road where I live has powers,
it is able to instantaneously halt
any kind of  vehicle, sometimes even stopping them
right in the middle of a road.
I tell my brother
that I would not be surprised
if one day we find a car parked  vertically
or two cars parked up against one other
as if to emulate the Kama Sutra,
such is the urgency to strip themselves
of reason, before entering into a holy place.
I have even grown used to listening
to sweet gospel hymns
from an open kitchen window,
the floral fragrance of choral harmony
the sheer power of  the will of voices,
each a note of  musical perfume,
sweet sound spellbinding and swaying
enough for a tender embrace with grace,
not longer after, the silencing of the chorus
will usually be followed by the sermon
by the hoarse-voiced pastor.


Sihle Ntuli is a South African poet and classicist living in Durban. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Classical Civilisations and has previously lectured at the University of the Free State. His poetry was shortlisted for the DALRO Poetry Prize in 2017.
He most recently became the author of a poetry chapbook Rumblin in 2020. He has had work published in South Africa and across the African continent on notable journals such as Lolwe, Down River Road & The Johannesburg Review of books.