Archive for the 'nature' Category

School holidays

Just after dawn
while the sun is still a red ball
and the ground mist rises
from the veld

we make a fire
and brew coffee
in a tin can with a wire handle.
Milk, sugar and Ricoffy,
stolen from the kitchen.

We squat in the dust
and warm our hands
at the embers
wait for it to boil.

The coffee tastes of smoke,
promises aardvark dens,
snake hunts, paper thorns,
stubbed toes and squabbles.


Spring equinox

I’m down in the valley
fingering the fat furry pods
of lupins
and up above in a cave
people have gathered
I hear them singing.

I wonder if I could
piggyback my pleas
on their prayers
but then I see that god is here
in the plump seeds
and in the wind that sets
my teeth on edge
like bad chalk
on a blackboard.

it’s a fine time to climb a mountain
to be closer to heaven,
or to be a tadpole tumbling
in a river swollen
by late rains,
while the full moon hides
behind the sun’s skirts
waiting for dark.

Winter lament

O give me the soul of a brown bear,
lend me her skin
that I may sleep the winter through
in a mulch of leaves and dreams
beneath the roots of a tree
to wake when the world is new.

Aroused by slow warmth
and the reborn sun,
I’ll hunt the quicksilver salmon,
and pluck summer’s berries.
Claws stained red,
I’ll grow fat, sleek and contented,
preparing for the moist silence
and the cold thought-less dark.

the forests of your heart

I have walked in the forests of your heart,
stood beneath the redwoods
in a cathedral of wind.
I have climbed a monkey rope to the sky
counted a thousand shades of green,
slept on a Persian carpet made of moss.
I have heard the mermaids chanting
in waterfall-curtained caves
calling children to the water-holes
while baboons danced in the kloofs*
catching beetles, barking, dancing, laughing.

*kloof – ravine
Legend says that the mermaids call children to the pools to drown them.


the wind is a freight train
carrying sea salt
the screams of children
and paper tumbleweeds.


Cold rain clatters on the tin roof
A thousand typewriters chanting a litany
fingernails hammering, hail tumbling.

Sorrow and tears are warmer than this
your arms promise comfort
the gutters spew careless ice.

the shrike impales insects
on the thorns of regret
the caterpillars of doubt
seal my eyes with silk
make them pregnant with wings

the black footed slug eats the moss
from the steps of forgetting
the scars that remain
are the traces of you.

a hundred paths cross this mountain
a hundred choices to make
following the soft-pawed porcupine
my wings beat against the wind.

do the whales remember?

here wild freesias grow
on the forgotten graves
of slaves and sailors

there whales flirt and float and flap their tails
and bear their calves in rolling waves
and sing their songs to all who heed

and just there on the harbour wall
men wielded knives and shouted jokes
there, the vats stood on burning coals
and boiled and stank of flesh and fat

the sailing boats are in the bay
summer winds blow through the pines
the mountain wears a pelt of flowers
wheeling seagulls cry and scream
who asked the question? Who will answer?

November 2017
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