I thought I was a sea person

by Lise Day

I thought I was a sea person
relishing the swells and deeps
far flung horizon
foam spattered rocks
push and pull of tides
lured by the moodiness

Now I know I am a mountain person
craving valleyed shelter
immutable crags hosting
battering gales
flowing cascades after rain
early rays of the buttery sun



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.


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.

Earth to Sky

by Elizabeth Trew

Earth in her glory scatters blue light
in her changing sky
Earth that gives sky her waters
whose tidal flows heap with her moon
made luminous by night
Earth that joins sky
each day on a ruffled horizon
Earth that stretches each force
of her turning
knows every song, rhythm
each breath, voice of wind
Earth that kicks yellow sand into sky

Sky that touches Earth’s lakes, rivers, oceans
lifting gift waters
knows each watery form and colour –
spectrum haloes, arcs, rainbows
sun-dogs that follow the sun
sky that swirls over grasslands and mountains
bends into lush valleys
with winds that whirl, whistle and keen
over village and city
sky that brings dew to each desert
builds clouds of dark monuments
beats down its rain and rinses Earth clean

Earth in her poverty locked in her dungeon
bleeds battle-scarred
Earth looted besieged
Earth raped forsaken
rainforests taken
land and lakes garbage islands
Earth struggling to breathe
and renew ashy nests

Earth: home


by Lise Day

Ancient wrack of desert ark
sucking from sea-fog that crawls
across hot Namibian sands.
Geckos, skinks, side-winders
shelter beneath her threads of leaves
shredded by a hundred years
of whipping winds.
Barred shadows harbour
brown fire bugs, wasps
that every century
may shuttle pollen
from her swollen cones
to her mate sprawling
a hundred yards away.
Growing slowly, slowly
self-sufficient, enduring

Elephants at my Door

by Pam Newham

They’ve been here again while we were away
leaving plenty of evidence behind.
The young umbrella thorn, no taller than I,
has been leaned on and its spindly trunk split open,
white like bare bone in a shattered leg.
The tip of a tusk has carved elegant shapes
onto the bark of the bush willow tree.
A great foot has stepped forward or back
and pulverised the bird bath.
Neat rounds of dung lie camouflaged
among the rocks; broken branches
carelessly tossed to the ground.

Such destructive beasts these and yet,
as I run my hand over the bark where
their trunks have been, I want to believe
they chose to come here.
And although I know that’s not so
and although they are long gone,
I want to believe I can still smell their scent
as they move on their majestic way.


by Cornelia Rohde

The heron’s keen beak and
the bone-fisherman’s rod poise
like divers before a plunge.
Their feet lift without a ripple,
as stealthily as a bidder raises a finger.
Eager eyes sharply scan
fleet shadows in the draining tide.

The sportsman’s quick arm
flings his fly in a taut arc.
A silvery flash,
translucent as moonlight,
snaps the feathery barb,
fiercely twists, surges,
is caught by the lure.

Legs braced, arms taut, the hunter
pits his wits in pursuit,
steadily reels, yields,
pulls with a sure grip.
Calmly triumphant,
he admires his sleek catch,
wrenches the hook from her mouth,
watches her streak away,
then resumes his slow slide
through the receding tide.

Close by, the heron swoops,
grabbing her prey
as swiftly as a comet flashes,
but she follows no rule
of catch and release.
Her dinner drops
head first down her throat,

bulges and wiggles
along the slender, dark tunnel
of her neck. She wastes
no time savoring her skill.
Her hungry clock set to the tides,
she must snare more
before the flats lie dry.


by Annette Snyckers

the land was thirsty and impatient,
it lay belly-up and waiting.
the pond is brim-full,
fish gulp at the fresh sweetness,
birds sing of the rain
and of bird-news
which I do not understand,
but I believe it must be better
than other news
oozing from our ailing land.

My doors are thrown wide open,
I sit, flooded by the sun —
humming my own strange song,
which I understand no more
than those sung by feathered ones.

For in times of hatred
fluttering on flagpoles,
I cannot imagine why —
but it really does not matter,
today the birds and I,
today we sing.

Sedgefield Shower

by Lise Day

In an old concrete water-tank
tapestry of seasons underfoot,
Kooi-goed of spring poking through
verdant stones. Red berries
of lucky-bean trees squished
between my toes, slippery
russet of autumn at my heels.
Turn the tap, wait, as the water
travels the length of the garden
to steam out of the
copper-green rose, and
sluice the sand and salt from
sun-flushed limbs.
Sombre bul-bul and mousebird
announce my trespass.

Lowveld Lyric

by Lise Day

Silvered web and feathered grass
Tremble cool in air of dawn
Rank scents deep in morning pool
First sun catches, white on thorn.

Slender trunks, pattern, patch
Flap of ear, fluttered lash
Curve of horn and tufted tail
Zither zebra, impala flash.

Curl of leaf, clustered seeds
Berries bright in caverns green
Brilliant flight in Anna boom
Emerald, saffron, twitch and preen.

Burchells flap, starlings gloss
Arrowmark babble, owlets cry,
Flaunt of hornbill, finches fire
Hawks and eagles soar the sky.

Bush baby clowns herald night
Blue sysie sky deepens dark
Crescent moon tangled in fig
Night’s hush broken, hyenas bark.

Plum and purple, mountain glows
Warmth and fire, evening scents
Below, the embers, dying fire
Above, the stars, magnificence.