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.

 

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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.

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.

Patterns in the Park

by Michael Keeling

There’s a tiny blind creature
making patterns in the park.
It’s sort of golden coated
and perpetually dark
but its remaining senses
tell it all it needs to know
as it tunnels after insects
and tells rivals where to go.

Don’t trample on its runways
or spear it with a fork
(saw one on the football field
being gobbled by a stork).
Don’t poison it or skin it
to make yourself a coat.
Don’t throw it in the swimming pool
to see if it will float.

No, this tiny blind creature
is
is part of you and me
and all the things around us
that are ecology.
Amblysomus hottentotus
you can call it if you must;
if it strains your epiglottis
call it something you can trust.

For as it aerates the soil
it’s a tiller of the land
and resulting from this toil
are its benefits to man.
Crops grow stronger, grass grows longer,
more and more are fed,
so it’s up to you, give encouragement
to this industrious quadruped.

 

Okavango

by Pamela Newham

Lilies like watery stars.
The silent glide of the makoro
down narrow canals
water-weed dank
past frogs,
the size of fingernails,
clinging to slim reeds.
Papyrus high on both sides.
The crack and crunch of hippos
on the river bank.
In a clearing a lion, so lazy,
he can barely lift his head.

Lament for the Stones

by Annette Snyckers   

 
No longer sure-footed
after my father’s death,
some days I was brought
to tears
for the smooth round rocks
lying motionless
in the riverbed.

Over millennia they kept still,
had their edges knocked off,
until scoured sleek,
they lie ovoid, oblong, squat
and suffer in stoic silence
the floods and droughts.

Perhaps they delight in the lizards,
the leguan,
the dragonflies,
the dainty steps
of the Klipspringer.

The Smell of Summer

by Annette Snyckers

Summer climbs steadily to the solstice,
flings its fragrance on the breeze.
Draped under the privet bush,
a lacy veil of small white flowers
wafts the smell of childhood,
shakes memories from that dusty cache –
images of tricycles and boy cousins,
of bubble bathing suits and bees,
of holidays and Christmas coming
and the majestic mulberry tree,
a feast of purple mouths and teeth
and suddenly, resurgent,
the sickening smell
of stinkbug
on a perfect berry.