Homeland

by Michael Keeling

It’s the road to nowhere
in a landscape of light
where shade is the brim of your hat

It’s a turbulent sea
of greenish-blue
on spray-breaking rocks

It’s the white sand
of an endless shore
under cloudless skies

It’s the shimmering mirage
of expectation
and the joy of arrival

It’s the mountain pass,
the winding track
and the exhilaration of being

It’s the trees, the shrubs,
the audacious flowers
on a multicoloured carpet

It’s the undulating
cheetah’s back
in pursuit of buck

It is, above all, the space,
the emptiness enclosed
in distant purple mountains

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Yes or No?

by Annette Snyckers

Motionless
the tiny frog sits
between the petals of a rose –
I almost missed him
so small and pale
his bulging eyes stare in slits
into this springtime morning –
the only sign of life
just a throbbing heartbeat
at his throat.

Perhaps he’s merely warming up
now that he’s left his tadpole tail
back in the pond –
or perhaps he lingers
enchanted by the fragrance,
the apricot and amber
of his petalled cave.
He seems to be listening inwards.

Frog thoughts take time –
(some days even mine)
will he leap, or will he stay
a Buddha for a day?

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.

 

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.