January heat

 

The heat is like a blanket

 Pressing on my shoulders

 Eyes screwed to slits

 I totter to the pool

 Cool welcome cool

 

Panting puppy lolls

Shares my shrubby shade

Drool drips off tired tongue

I swear it’s hot as Hades

 

Evening can’t come soon enough

Cooling coastal breeze

Smiles as we welcome the relief

Pup leaps and hares around the lawn

I slither into cooling pool

Gasping gurgling sighs of joy

I feel I am

Once more a boy.

 

Night rain

 

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Softly whispers on tin roof

 

Murmurs in the gutter

 

Chatters its way down into the tank

 

And the overflow drips with a splatter

 

 

 Down on to the poplar sapling

 

Gratefully happily green

 

Then into the earth

 

Sifts down through the soil

 

And into the river again

 

 

It flows though the reeds

 

Under the trees

 

And then comes the hot summer sun

 

Raises it high

 

Into the sky

 

Forms a cloud that signals return.

 

 

 

 

Softly whispers on tin roof 

Murmurs in the gutter 

Chatters its way down into the tank 

And the overflow drips with a splatter 

 

 Down on to the poplar sapling 

Gratefully happily green 

Then into the earth 

 

Sifts down through the soil 

And into the river again 

It flows though the reeds 

Under the trees

 

And then comes the hot summer sun 

Raises it high 

Into the sky 

Forms a cloud that signals return.

Parenthood

 

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They trot along the wheat field fence

Two panicked parent cranes

One chick inside and one outside

 Anxiety reigns

 

Father hurls against the fence

Follow me for cluck sake

Finally a hole in the fence

Joins sibling in the field

 

But we are looming far too close

Strangers, hunters, predators?

Instincts intervene

Chicks hare off to the right

Father strusts on neighbouring field

Look at me please look at me

Mother limps off to the left

Spreads her wings and staggers on

I’m helpless, chase me, follow me

 

Such bravery, such sacrifice

Done without thinking twice

We leave with lump filled throats

How wonderful, how marvellous

Is mother nature.

 

 

They trot along the wheat field fence

Two panicked parent cranes

One chick inside and one outside

 Anxiety reigns

 

Father hurls against the fence

Follow me for cluck sake

Finally a hole in the fence

Joins sibling in the field

 

But we are looming far too close

Strangers, hunters, predators?

Instincts intervene

Chicks hare off to the right

Father struts on neighbouring field

Look at me please look at me

Mother limps off to the left

Spreads her wings and staggers on

I’m helpless, chase me, follow me

 

Such bravery, such sacrifice

Done without thinking twice

We leave with lump filled throats

How wonderful, how marvellous

Is mother nature.

Saturday polka

 It’s 1948 and I’m 7 years old

Mommy’s at Saturday shopping 

Sarah and Jane hanging the washing

Keeping an eye on me as I play with my cars in the sand

 

He strides down the drive big and scary

In black helmet and black uniform

A policeman

 

Ek kom soek in julle kamer

Vir wat? Vir kafferbier!

Sarah and Jane protest – too much?

He searches, he finds, takes a sample

Dis gemmerbier!  Dis gemmerbier! 

Smug and threatening he leaves to test it.

 

That night in the lounge by the fire

With Sarah and Jane and my little boet

Mommy comes in in her black evening dress

Full skirt and covered in tulle 

Embroidered with gold threaded roses

She twirls so the skirt flies out gaily 

Singing: “See me dance the polka, see me cover the ground!”

She leaves on Daddy’s right arm.

 

All night long I sit by the fire

Terrified 

What if he comes and arrests them?

Leaving me and my boet alone here?

 

He never comes back

There’s an evidence lack

 

But I never have lost my deep fear of Polka.

Big Issue

She stands at the traffic light

 Broad smile

 Bright eyes

 But what lurks behind them?

  

Fear, hope

 Three tiny tots

 Mouths to feed

 To protect from Friday night violence

 

Will I sell enough copies today?

 The Big Issue

 What is your Big Issue, sir?

 Where to dine tonight?

 What is mine?

 Survive Friday night.

 

Big Issue, sir?

Blue Route Mall Parade

 

Harassed mother, kids in tow

 Takes a break for coffee

 

 Loving couple holding hands

 Pause at window, stare at rings

 

 Aged couple totter past

 Each with trolley firmly clasped

 Trolley acting as a zimmer

 Not quite the same but rather similar

 

 Little tyke of three or four

 Tousled headed, feet slap floor

 

 Well nourished auntie, stern of mien

 Strolls along not really seeing

 

 Teenage daughter and her mother

 Look remarkably like one another

 

 Matron resplendent in lamè blouse

 Gold frames surround mascaraed eyes

 

 Mr T shirt, feet spread wide

 To hold huge paunch he cannot hide

 

 Two grey haired wrinklies sip lemonade

 Gossip about the passing parade

 

 And so they come and so they go

 All part of the Mall’s eternal flow.

 

Colonisation

Port Jackson evil pestilence

Tentacles spread across the land

The coloniser’s ghastly blot

 

Not for it a UN resolution

Not for it a lowered flag

Not for it some pious proclamation

But the proof of foolish man

 

Point not to roads and railways

Point not to government forms

Point not to legal systems

Orcricket, bowls, croquet

Point rather to this blight

 

Import a killer beetle but

It taks an age to work

While seeds spread at a rate

 

When fire takes a thousand trees

Ten thousand seeds sprout overnight

Mocking man’s bombastic claim

To mastery over his domain

 

We dive in strive with saw and axe

And Garlon mixed with diesel

To keep at bay this nature’s blot

 

At times we win and clear the land

But know full well that we’ll be back

Saw and poison mix in hand

To fight the war we’ll never win

 

And when we’ve cut the invader down

The worst of all is that its wood

Is just as useless as the tree

No good for building or a braai

Good only to be spurned and burned

Colonisation’s lasting stain

Why did the Brits think they were God?