Walking in the wind

by Pamela Newham

The wind tugs at their hair and teases their clothes
but they do not care for they are talking and talking.

What are they discussing?
Probably not local elections or postal strikes
or the high cost of cauliflowers.

Now and then they stop but do not look
at the white-tufted waves or the mountains
or the squabbling seagulls
instead they stand for a moment, laughing.

Then they carry on walking
Talking and talking as the wind
whisks their secrets out to sea.

In Old Rangoon (1970)

by Cornelia Rohde

We squat on wooden stools outside crumbling
Scott’s Market, cupping steamy bowls of mohinga
from a street vendor: chunks of river shad,
lemon grass, tender core of banana stem, chili,
pungent shrimp paste, onions laced with rice noodles.

Shafts of light chase shadows from the open stalls.
I watch slanting sunrays burnish
the golden lacquer of a Hintha bird,
teasing glints from its faux-jeweled wings.

“The Hintha is said to eat only pearls. To us,
this bird means love and faith in marriage.”
His tapered fingers offer a slim green cheroot.
The taste is smooth and mild, as clement as his smile.

I savor soup and a smoke with him,
and bring a sacred swan to you.

Wall

by Lise Day

I like these stones
round in my palms
demanding none of my skills
but the placing

Table Mountain sandstone
sun-warm boulders
required only to stay
where they’re put

Low winter sun
on my shoulders
packing a wall
putting down roots

Bright vygie crevices
gecko tanning ledges
rock hopping toddlers
inhabit my wall

Not to keep flowers in
nor peacocks out
just defining my space
is what it’s about.

Message in a bottle

by Michael Keeling

I like the thought of the bottle
As it bobs through the ocean of hope,
Controlled by uncontrollable forces
With destiny pulling the rope.

Who knows of the message it carries
Or where it is meant to end;
And what of the person who finds it,
Have they too a message to send?

So I’m putting the cork in the bottle
And throwing it out to sea;
The message inside reads something like this:
Will you be home for tea?!

Things I used to want

by Annette Snyckers

Some things I used to want
no longer thrill me —
like a clear pond with Koi flashing
in liquid shattered sun —
the fish are fat now and need
a sitter when we leave.

Or Egyptian geese,
a breeding pair,
in colour-coded feather jackets –
but here in great numbers,
they squawk and hoot
when l want to sleep.

Things I never dreamed of wanting
came uninvited –
a bushbaby with velvet coat,
who surveyed the dark
with big black mirror-eyes,
touched my face with clammy fingers
and fleeced my hair for fleas each night.

Some things I used to want
I do still want –
the animals who grin or purr
when I come home,
wag their tails or lick my hand –

Although you do nothing of the kind,
I do still want you too.

Fjord

by Elizabeth Trew

Fjord came from a carving of ice
inching slowly down valley
bedrock stoppers her mouth

her long limpid body of water
mingles glacier melt, inlet sea
bounded by mountains

her horizon sheers high as vision plumbs deep
soft body brooding shattered rock
scarred peaks, rolling hills

she ruffles her spectrum of colours
floats in her glass shifts of silver
grey green gold blue purple black

shuffles down her root girdle
scours her caves clutching at sea-salt
river-fat

lies valley bound
tempered and still
deeper than the sea outside