Archive for the 'Poetry' 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.

The problem with Dave

is that he doesn’t like surprises,
needs to practise his conversations
so as not to be left bereft of words.
Small talk is easier now,
he’s thirteen and knows
a series of phrases
repeated in the right order.

His words are not filed like yours and mine,
conveniently grouped by subject,
but clumped together in a sticky mass.
He has to search for each elusive one,
has learned to say,
“I’m going to change the subject”
before he talks.

But I have seen him, seated in the train
winking at pretty girls
raising his ginger eyebrows
and smiling, his rosy lips a perfect curve.
I have seen him in the waves, surfing,
laughing ’til his breath runs out,
and I have watched him
talking to his striped cat
with his hands
on the windowsill in the sun.

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.

Restart

Sometimes it seems
we don’t talk much
any more
the words have lost their way
teeth in a glass
spectacles next to the bed
when did it happen
where was I?

Sometimes it seems
pain could be truth
to hit my head
against the wall
not merely stub my toe
again and again
blood on the sheets.

Sometimes it seems
the world is sagging
like the springs of this bed
white paint flakes are dandruff
on the green stoop
the curtains are faded
the garden abandoned,
when did it happen
where was I?

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 shoemaker

The threshold sags, foot and stumble worn
admitting mice, impatient wind and salty dust.
Thirteen children grew up here
in a lavender garden behind a crooked wall,
their father a canny man who cobbled shoes.

fireside

at a gathering of poets
around a fire
fed by cardboard and pine cones,
the fire was fed, that is,
the poets were fed
on wine and words,
we, the poets, shared stories of
alcoholic husbands, dogs and hijacks
the fire shared reluctant warmth.


July 2017
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 24 other followers