Possessions

by Lise Day

For my sister and brother-in-law whose
house was burnt to the ground in the Knysna fires.

It was the coral cups of a thousand clivias
that smouldered in the woodland garden.
The only flame that flitted between the trees
the quick flash of loerie’s scarlet wing.
Rows of shining bottles glinted gold
holding pungent fynbos honey
collected by bees in hills, purple-clad,
encircling the mirror lagoon.
Inside the gentle flicker of candle light
flower shades, white curtains
Danish simplicity of taste.
Medals marking children’s triumphs
ribboned in proud display;
Recipe books with pages splattered
memories of delicious meals;
Gleaming hard pear and yellowwood
a corner chewed by errant dog;
The green dress worn to a family wedding;
Mementoes from world-wide travel;
Treasures, no longer useful
but too hard to give away;
Paintings collected, overlooked
in every-day but remembered now;
Grandmother’s stinkwood dresser;
The bubbles suspended in Lille’s glasses;
The familiar taken-for-granted stuff
that marks your passage through your past.

Gone!

But loved ones, family, dogs are safe.
The sum of life is not measured
by the totting up of our possessions.

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Fleeting

by Pamela Newham

Where are you?

Where are you tonight?
It’s that show-off moon,
too big, too bright
that brings back
sixties songs
and the smell of cigarettes
and jasmine
and empty glasses
on a wooden table
and chair legs
sinking into evening-damp grass.

 
Then I turn my back on that brazen moon
and, sane again, I do not care where you are.
Where you are tonight.

Rescue

by Cornelia Rohde

At full moon’s morning tide
we swim across the flats
above baby conch
settled in soft turtle grass.
At each receding ebb
their pink-shell lips gape,
vulnerable to greedy scavengers.
You rescue them in weighty bucket-loads,
stagger through the shallows
to hurl them into channel’s depths
where they can safely fatten.

I imagine shiny shell faces
beaming with relief.

October

by Elizabeth Trew

moves in with foghorn and bells
blows sarongs and scarves
sweeps fallen leaves

it sends out its flares –
sunlight lengthens to lift
the gloom in my house
yellow nasturtiums nod to the bees
ice-blue watsonias bloom in profusion
after the fire

it prances and stumbles
old blood in my hands needles and burns

October steadies and turns
marches towards the union buildings;
a police car is torched
there is blood in the streets.

Lotus

by Elizabeth Trew

To be as the lotus – rising flower
rooted in mud of murky waters
bud-head and heart wrapped in petals

each day lifts its stem and ascends above water
unfolds, opens its radiance – pinks – purples – yellows
translucent in light

at nightfall closes its petals
descends to dwell in dark waters
holding its lightness: elixir within.

Realization

by Annette Snyckers

Sometime
between high summer
and days dwindling
to autumn, I noticed
a small cloud, a mere wisp,
it steadily grew and gathered
some scattered relatives from afar.
They cast ever-changing shadows
on the open ground below.
Up high, watching
from the silent glider
of my thoughts,
the land was beautiful —
flecked as a Nguni cow.

But here, back among the dying,
the leaves are turning,
the days shrink.
I look up, see
the gathering grey —
and wait for the storm
to break.

dance the more glory

by Elizabeth Trew

gentle strong dancer dancing into the world
dance again solo on the red hill

swirl the tails of your animal dress
with laughter in sun-wind

dance to the earth and its bones beneath
your arms open raised to the sky

rhythm feet turning the centre of you
letting arms flow to the voice of your body

turning the more deeply to its music
gentle strong dancer, astonish me again

Rift

by Annette Snyckers

I could attempt
the journey
to your world,
but it seems so far,
so difficult,
and even if
arrival was possible,
you might stop me
at passport control,
have me searched
for ulterior motives,
refuse entry.

Then,
on barren soil
delusions would bloom,
disputes flourish,
wounds bleed seeds.

In the end
the harvest
bitter,
and we,
the reapers —
the losers.