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.

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Writing in the Afternoon (A Pantoum)

by Annette Snyckers

My heart leaps up
my limbs are light
I write to remember
I write to forget

my limbs are light
I write mountains and molehills
I write to forget
the fear that fetters me

I write mountains and molehills
I write terror and tenderness
the fear that fetters me
a remnant of wholeness

I write terror and tenderness
I write to remember
a remnant of wholeness
my heart leaps up

Recuerdos de l’Alhambra

by Michael Keeling

Outside the burning sun
withered the scalp
and tortured the exposed.
Here in the coolness of time
we stood still
listening
to the bubbling rills.

Arched spray
fell from fountains.
Sculptured lions
held the font
in supplication
to water:
symbol of riches.

Echoes of Los Moros
reflected the truth
in the painted azulejos.
Arabic script
traced the Quran.

It was the stuff
of meditation,
the admission of sins;
the holding of hands
and believing
in constant love.

On the road back
we broke our journey,
and heard
a thousand nightingales.

Fakir

by Cornelia Rohde

In the snaking gullies
of Nizamuddin,
a cochineal-robed fakir
moves softly on bare feet,
winding his way
through pungent smells
of moradabadi biryani,
dahi butter chicken,
stalls of sweets: kheer in earthen bowls,
virulent orange squiggles of imarti,
hawkers of jasmine garlands,
rainbow bangles,
ubiquitous paan wallahs.

Body hung with holy beads,
hair twisted wild,
holding a staff wound
with many colored ribbons,
strings of prayers
tied to his wrists,
his eyes present and distant,
still and volcanic;
a wandering ascetic
whose only demand
is to draw near to God.

I find his iridescent spirit
in yearning gawwals
sung at Dargah. 
I hold their longing
close within me.

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,
kokerbome,
winding paths, craggy rocks, lake view
and birdsong
make, for a few hours,
this Unbeliever
Believe.