The Young Author
When she was 15, Cissie won the African People's Organisation newspaper award for best poem for a person under 16. Titled "His Mother's Boy", its sentimentality is perhaps to be excused in an adolescent whose talents grew in other directions.
"His Mother's Boy"
Miss Z Abdurahman
His eyes were bright, his hair was fair,
He was his mother's boy;
He was her pride, her only child,
Her only loving Roy.
Around his neck in flaxen folds
His golden ringlets fell;
His cheek was like the crimson rose,
His eyes like the blue-bell.
She loved her child as life and death,
No sweeter child could find.
Oft in the eve when all was still,
She would instruct his mind.
They lived within a cottage small,
Upon the lonely moor.
Both were proud, and spoke to none
Yet both were very poor.
When children sought his company
On any summer's day;
She'd proudly check the little mites,
And lead him then away.
None saw the boy, he, too, was proud.
He was his mother's boy.
None but her proud and selfish self,
His presence could enjoy.
A sad day dawned, and the happy lad
Lay sick upon his bed;
His crimson cheeks, not turned white,
His curls tangled on his head.
Both day and night she guarded him
With deep maternal care;
She now looked on a faded flower,
Once radiant, rich and fair.
She promised to give her boy to the world,
If ever he recover;
But one winter's night the hour came,
Twixt life and death he hovered.
She knelt beside the pining child
With anxious, tearful eyes.
Oh, God! her boy was sinking fast,
Perhaps would never rise.
Lo! next day when the sun arose
O'er snow-white clouds above,
An angel clad in heavenly robes,
Descended crowned with love.
He smiled, and pointed to the bed,
Where lay the dying boy:
"Your God, he sends me," he gently said,
"To claim your only boy."
All things seemed hushed at the voice of death:
The angel shone with light.
He clasped his hands and gazed above,
Then vanished out of sight.
She gazed upon her child's death-bed.
Where God's gold light once shone;
His soul had passed from death to live [sic],
And she was left alone.
She bowed her head before the Lord.
And yielded up her child;
Gone was her haughty, selfish spirit,
She was humbled, meek and mild.
- Gool, C, "His Mother's Boy", in Everatt, E, 1978, "Zainunnisa (Cissie) Gool, 1897-1963", BA Honours thesis, University of Cape Town, Appendix A