4 a.m.

by Pamela Newham

Who is she the sleeping me?
I, the conscious one,
covet her oblivious state
where residue of the day
translates into fantasy
where visions swirl and shift
while my obstinate brain
is tormented by the ordinary
and I keep my eyes from
the relentless clock
sole witness to the awake me.

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Life Outside

by Angela Prew

Now we live on the Main Road
where, passing beneath our window,
we have a constant parade.
two busy periods occur week-daily;
early traffic starts at dawn,
a queue of lorries, vans and cars,
and a steady stream of trailers from the bottling plant
bustle into town.
Occasional bursts of hooting or sirens
draw us to the windows or wake us from our rest
and, from time to time, sounds of collisions
and wails as ambulances, rescue vans, police cars
speed up to clear the road of battered people,
animals and goods no longer fit for sale.
The traffic thins out after nine
as the workers line up, slowly, to return home.
Matches enliven the quiet weekends,
cricket and rugby, both played at our rear.
We know at once which side has won
by the time and volume of noise.
For us, the old, whose limbs have stiffened,
there is constant amusement outside.

Krishna’s Mercy

A Fibonacci

by Cornelia Rohde

Down
holes
among
the pipul roots
great hooded snake gods
live in rich underground cities
built of precious gems
whose brilliance
lights up
the
world.

Some
like
dreaded
Kaliya
with his hundred hoods,
vomit poison, destroying all
near the sacred river
Jumna’s banks
that flow
deep,
broad.

Heads
rise
fearsome
from the depths
engulfing Krishna
when he dives to retrieve his ball.
He becomes so huge
the demon
is forced
to
yield.

Released
child
now dances
on those heads,
but he spares the brute
when his lovely Nagini wives
beg for his pardon.
Playful Lord
forgives
vile
rage.

Appropriation

by Annette Snyckers

What I really wanted
was the forest,
that fecund place –
it smelled of damp decay –
where spots of sunlight sifted
through the green of spring.

I took it for myself,
let suspicion fall
where it may –
after all,
they left it in the shed,
perhaps they didn’t
even care.

Just before I fall
asleep, I can almost hear
the wind in the trees,
the rustling leaves –

the painting hangs
above my bed.

 

One Precious Thing, from Rohingya Refugees

by Elizabeth Trew

Found poem

I bring from across the water
my make-up box – eyeliners and powder –
I love to make up my face.
I bring this bag of puffed rice –
my best thing to eat.
I bring this bottle of oil for my mother’s headaches –
I rub a little on her temples for relief.

I leave behind my cattle – bloated, dead on the shore.
They were like my children.
I am drawing all of them on this paper.
I am drawing my favourite yellow dress, burnt
in my burning village – draw it exactly
as it was – bright colour with belt and sequins.
I leave behind my father’s photo – handsome, strong man.
I am drawing his face to remember.

Poem for Glenn and Wendy on the Occasion of their Marriage

by Elaine Edwards

Soon Glenn and Wendy will exchange their vows.
Here in this glade, beneath these leafy boughs,
we are assembled now to celebrate
their union, and pray that fickle fate
will treat them kindly and allow them space
both for themselves and one another.
Let them be true, each to the other
in every circumstance, in every place.

Let our beloved children find ahead
a love that’s singular but widely spread.
May the strong bond that’s formed today
enable them to meet all obstacles and stay
their loving course, together not apart.
Let Glenn’s quick wit and strength of mind,
his decency and faithfulness combined
join Wendy’s gentle soul and loving heart.

And in this forest may the verdant trees
be images of love rooted with success
and may their spreading branches show the way
to Glenn and Wendy’s future happiness.

The Heart of the Matter

by Lise Day

Today I cooked an artichoke
which is really a bitter thing
needing garlic for sweetness,
oil for softness, lemon for zing.

I eat it in the evening hush
after a day of swirling wind
from each petal
scrape the good
discard the tip of gall.
I think it’s like my life –
outer leaves leathery
resilient as my youth,
the inner segments
mushy middle-age.
Then, suddenly the choke,
a hairy knob of awfulness
I incise it carefully
discard it chop chop.

Now relish the succulent
sweet heart of maturity,
and the best part
of an artichoke is,
all that comes after
tastes even better.

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.