Poems by Sr Claudette Bogner OP

Visit to Umlamli
Perhaps 1976?Hidden between the mountains high,
in the last corner of the Transkei,

lies a fortress, powerful strong:
“Mountain of peace” in the people’s tongue.

Plenty of peace and quiet,
for those from far and tired,
fresh air, sunshine, L.T.C.,
except the roads do worry me.

Community life: “informal”,
outward appearance: “quite normal!,
family spirit stressed most of all,
joys and pains shared – great and small.

Provided is for all body need,
an “a la Pirm” does the trick indeed,
of course there is no chance for T.V.
for this we go to Zastron, you see.

Thanks for letting me BE with you,
happy I was and impressed, it’s true.
Perhaps I could live in a small community,
but then it would have to be in Umlamli.

Thank you, all of you,
I’ll be thinking back often,
it was short and sweet.
Sr Claudette Bogner

Something from Ireland
Where sea and sky meet

time and eternity greet
without a wall
and bridges tall
they join as one complete.

Where ocean meets sky
calm and clarity stream by
my peaceful heart
all doubts depart
earth to air, no end no start
they please my roaming eye.

Green isle in the sea
splendour and tranquillity
God made this land
for us to stand
in awe of nature so grand
and thank your majesty.
Sr C


Farewell Sisters Irmgard and Modesta
4 May 1995

St Vincent is a Convent Fair,
here in Johannesburg,
the sisters for the deaf do care,
they teach and pray and work.

One nun was there for many years
Sister Irmgard is her name,
she taught the girls to sew (sometimes) with tears,
solve problems when they came.

The hostels too were in much need
of helpers day by day,
the chapel and the sacristy
were done in the right way.

Sister Modesta liked to be busy
in house and sewing room,
looked after Father and would see
to visitors when they come.

St Joseph’s house was her great joy,
to have it shining bright,
to make the beds, put flowers mooi,
the welcome must be right.

Dear sisters, all the work is done, its time to take a rest.
St Mary’s will be your new home.
We wish you all the best.
Sr Claudette Bogner

Farewell Sr Felicia Kraller
When other people retire from ordinary activity
they enjoy a peaceful life, rest and serenity.
Sr Felicia came to St Vincent at the age of 68
to help in the kitchen, early and late.

For 20 years, early and long before the rising sun
Felicia would get up to cook breakfast for everyone
and watch the clock so that in good time
she could ring the Getting up bell with a loud chime.

The many pots of soup you have cooked here
would surely fill the swimming pool, that is clear.
The many steps you have walked in the kitchen, up and down
would get you, if not further, as far as Cape Town.

Not only in the kitchen were you busy all day,
you showed concern for others in many a way,
looked out that the sisters came for their tea and cake,
that Father gets his paper, your job you would make.

Someone had to look out that all the windows were closed,
that the lights are switched off and the chapel door locked,
that Funny Face got her meals and exercise every day
that after meals everything is tidied nicely away.

And so we could carry on and make a long list,
in short, Sr Felicia, you will be missed.
We thank you for your kindness and concern,
retirement, peace and quiet now is your turn.

We wish you a happy time at St Mary’s, next door
please pray for us, think of us and worry no more.
We pray for you and think of you too –
visit us sometimes and God bless you.
Sr Claudette Bogner


Early days of CoVid 19
August 2020

Oxford Road, Johannesburg, in isolation,
one of the busiest streets in the nation,
30 000 vehicles drive up and down each day
pedestrians calling, laughing and chatting on their way.
Noises, voices, life and activity
on the main artery to and from Sandton City.

Come lockdown, the street is empty and bare,   silence, no movements anywhere.
Did everybody and everything abandon the town?
Where is everyone? Am I alone?   
Stay inside, remain at home,
for contact with others, use the phone.

Not all life is gone from the street,
pigeons and doves find something to feed 
undisturbed by cars. Sparrows, starlings, mynas come along
enjoying their freedom and playing with their young. 
The air is clear, near I can see the town and the land,
I feel I can touch the Hillbrow Tower with my hand.

Oxford Road represents the country, the Earth    
where all has gone quiet, peaceful and everyone cares
where nature breathes and heals itself inside and out
and people slow down,  think  what life is all about. 
It is a time to stand together, though we are apart. 
We can’t hold hands but hold each other in the heart. 
Sr Claudette Bogner