The Smell of Summer

by Annette Snyckers

Summer climbs steadily to the solstice,
flings its fragrance on the breeze.
Draped under the privet bush,
a lacy veil of small white flowers
wafts the smell of childhood,
shakes memories from that dusty cache –
images of tricycles and boy cousins,
of bubble bathing suits and bees,
of holidays and Christmas coming
and the majestic mulberry tree,
a feast of purple mouths and teeth
and suddenly, resurgent,
the sickening smell
of stinkbug
on a perfect berry.


by Annette Snyckers

Like carton cut-outs, row upon row,
the mountains shift past the car window –
bruise-blue, grey-blue,
to the palest shade of sky –
we travel through a land bereft of rain
where poplars on farms
flutter gold and amber
and palm trees lean in the wind –
tall and tolerant, they wave
black shadows over solitary white houses.
The dirt road sails like a snake through dips
and over ridges of the foothills —
far ahead a car drags a streamer of dust
through the afternoon heat.

Four hours from the city
my mind leaves behind the clutter,
content to hum in thinking
of nothing much —
and how tonight I’ll sleep in a place
where stars splutter silver light
over a black velvet night
and where the church bell strikes —
every quarter hour
that remains of my life.


by Angela Prew

When the most important person,
the Great Panjandrum,
thinks he knows his people,
how they think and how they vote,
then it’s time for resignation, for life
far from the limelight
a little cottage out of sight;
before he calls a referendum and
the 70% he thought were on his side
become 52% against. And
48% of Britons find themselves
mere ‘Little Englanders’ with
European benefits withdrawn.

Overnight to Beijing

by Elizabeth Trew

In the top bunk I listen to sounds in the dark –
voices far-off and the sleepers’ breathing
over the wheels clickety-clack on the tracks.

Waking at dawn I look down and see the old woman
sitting still by the window
after she opens the blind to check herself in the glass.

Back home I look out at another day
and picture the grandmother
utterly composed in her stillness, nourishing her light.

Sedgefield Shower

by Lise Day

In an old concrete water-tank
tapestry of seasons underfoot,
Kooi-goed of spring poking through
verdant stones. Red berries
of lucky-bean trees squished
between my toes, slippery
russet of autumn at my heels.
Turn the tap, wait, as the water
travels the length of the garden
to steam out of the
copper-green rose, and
sluice the sand and salt from
sun-flushed limbs.
Sombre bul-bul and mousebird
announce my trespass.

Clanwilliam Wild Flower Garden, Spring 2016

by Elaine Edwards

Suitably gauntleted against the sun, Asian tourists
point cannon cameras at trembling petals.
Ladies from the Botanical Society
walk, books in hand, conferring quietly.
A frail woman sits huddled on a bench,
eyes closed, smile tender, while
an elderly man bends down
to whisper into the ears of golden bells.

As for me
blue sky, soft breeze, fragrant scents,
gold, blue, pink, yellow blooms,
winding paths, craggy rocks, lake view
and birdsong
make, for a few hours,
this Unbeliever


Maynardville Mayhem

by Michael Keeling

Something called Community Chest
upset our evening perambulation.
You know, the quiet walk in the park
collecting thoughts and the odd empty beer can.
Not only us but dogs, lovers, vagrants, squirrels
and sundry birds were miffed.
The ordinance corps arrived
a good two weeks before proceedings
fencing everything off like a crime scene.
This included half our regular exercise lap.
A new route was planned of equal calorific value
which could have taken in the pub but that
wasn’t really the object of the exercise.
However common sense conquered sobriety.

Sitting at the bar with a double scotch,
(my lady with her usual brandy and water),
thoughts turned to the Bard.
It was, indeed, the Shakespeare Festival.
Maynardville Park was witnessing Othello doing his nut
while slaying his old girl with Iago’s hypno-suggestive hankie.
Drop tears as fast as the Arabian trees
Their medicinable gum.
It was a double whammy, the Bard and the Chest together.

When revels ended and silent was the air
a lot more than a rack was left behind.
Clean-up time took another three days.
The tearing down of the wall
and restoration of the hallowed ground
precipitated a ceremonial lap of honour.
Birds, squirrels, dogs, lovers, vagrants and kids
reclaimed their territory.
But, when all’s said and done, why complain?
Homer was right,
The charity that is a trifle to us
can be precious to others.

The Disease to Please

by Pamela Newham

A psychobabble phrase
that slips off the tongue with ease.
Saying yes when it should be no.
Stay a while when you wish they’d go.
Saying of course I’ll be there
when you really don’t care.
So, from now on, I’m going to change.
Have to check my diary, I’ll say, and
no way, I’m far too busy today.
I’ll be brisk and business-like,
forthright and true…

But only if that’s all right with you.

On the Move

by Angela Prew

Crammed into little boats, unseaworthy
floating coffins, thousands of men,
women and children set out
across the sea,
seeking refuge.
The World is on the move.

Homes destroyed, lives shattered, long treks
undertaken in the search for peace,
a future, hope, new lives free from
daily terror.
The World is on the move.

Rivers of desperation, always moving, restless,
always searching. Who will take them in, offer them
a home, a way to earn a living?
‘Something must be done,’ we say.
‘Not in our backyard,’ we say.
‘They must move on,’ we say.
The World is on the move.