by Candy Rohde

flows around corners
topped by a cloche with a quill or
a Stetson sprinkled with dew,
billowing clothes cut from
bright parachutes, spitting sparks.

I’ve seen her soar on flying fish wings,
nosedive into black Blue Holes,
slough her skin under vines of a banyan.
I’ve startled her doing a headstand
sprouting lines from Ondaatje, or
pirouetting on the ceiling
spinning the salad.

A solitary child, she winced
when red marks slashed her words,
until Imagination airlifted her to a new planet.
When she sighs, Spontaneity floats her
high on a hot pink trapeze,
or rolls her out on a long Bacchanal.

She unplugs the phone,
ignores dull requests, but
never says no to a joll with
Curiosity in day-glo.
She hurls open windows,
lets dust bunnies breed,
makes Adversity tango,
if he knocks on her knees.

She puts Interruption on a ship that won’t dock,
wills Distraction to become hooked on the slots,
exiles Boredom to make budgets and lists,
craves to practice euthanasia on
Li-ter-al Ex-pres-sion
for sucking up her oxygen.

As difficult to seduce as a rocket trail,
she will, when riding on the shoulders
of Imagination,
offer a similar thrill to skydiving with swallows.
To leash her would be as reckless
as bottling angels on horseback.

She may even introduce you
to her friend Mystery,
the one feeding her dutiful dung beetle
passion seeds to make him


Queenstown Cemetery 2010

by Elaine Edwards

Grey skies press down
on rows and rows of gravestones:
black granite in the new part near the gate,
brown sandstone in the old part
near the fence.

In air-conditioned luxury we glide down
stony roads, heading towards
the lopsided, fallen, worn and shattered
monuments that mark our destination.

Abandoning the car under a dripping pine tree
we trudge among the graves, reading:
Benjamin James aged 3 fell asleep on 21 February 1864.
Mary Maude Webber gone to the arms of Jesus 1875.
Dearly beloved… never forgotten… 3 months… 4 years…
Little graves with little headstones.
I could not believe death had undone so many.

In the end we find our ancestors
read the messages
take the photo.
Climb back into the comfort of our car.

We pass a hearse, a crowd of mourners,
flowers, a newly dug hole,
nearby are rows and rows of tiny gravestones,
shining wetly in the weak sun’s rays.
From the far corner of the cemetery
to the new part near the gate,
nothing has changed.

I have borrowed Larkin’s toads

by Kerry Hammerton

made them my own, ensured
all warts are in their proper place.
My toads don’t race around
in unsuitable convertibles or
dull their palates with rich food.
My toads glare balefully, fat
bodies squatting in my bed,
on top of my alarm clock,
they ribbit and croak at me
from the dashboard of my car,
lie on top of the partition
in my office, they have killed
the poor mouse attached
to my keyboard, they are in
my bath, like to splash in my
tea, trip me up, hide in my shoes,
hop out of the fridge when I open
the door. Sometimes I find them
nestled in my underwear drawer.
I want to give them back,
one day I may vomit one up.

Nicole’s Lamb

by Angela Prew

Dawn light floods fields,
the children yawn, stretch,
join the restless dogs
on the feed sacks in the bakkie.
We lurch over grass
touched by the sun
colouring the tips of the mountains.
A file of ostriches zigzags behind us
necks out, wings half-raised,
pecking greedily as grain spills from sacks,
not waiting while the men
fill feed into huge, empty tyres.
More fields to bump across
edged by fences, polka-dotted
with white picnic plates.
The bakkie heaves and pants,
dogs and children shiver in the cold,
barking excitedly, laughing and shrieking,
unaware of autumn beauty.
Ostriches fed, time now for sheep;
a ewe in trouble bleats piteously
nuzzling the newborn by her side.
The men jump out
find rusty knives, syringes,
out-of-date medicine.
Neels picks up the lamb,
drops it in Nic’s lap;
she hold it, new this morning,
touches it gently, wondering, looks up, smiles.
And the morning is illuminated.


by Michael Keeling

Sometimes he sits and sometimes sits and thinks
the thoughts that make the pie up in the sky,
chin cupped in hands, expression of a sphynx.

To clarify, some people seek their shrinks
but others make their beds where they can lie
and there they sits and sometimes sits and thinks.

And if they’re punished and they’re put in clinks,
they sit in corners trying to reason why,
chin cupped in hands, expression of a sphinx.

The world’s their oyster but to some it stinks;
their luck is bad, the good has passed them by,
and there they sits and sometimes sits and thinks.

You’ve met the sort, they’re often full of drinks,
with sorrows drowned, a glazed look in the eye,
chin cupped in hands, expression of a sphinx.

I know a man, returned from many brinks,
he dreams one day he’ll win the lottery,
sometimes he sits and sometimes sits and thinks
chin cupped in hand, expression of a sphinx.