Silence

at noon

a deafening adieu as butcher birds

peal their retreat from the midday sun

while street workers uselessly patching potholes

stop drilling for lunch

 

there follows a long pause

of muted sound

a sustained piano pedal

in which a hundred thoughts

drift around the garden

to plant themselves

alongside rose, mandevilla

and lily

 

to flower in silence.

This is now.

Then there was just quiet.

 

 

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Leaf Dance

You stood transfixed leaf in hand

Telling yourself a story. It was your

First birthday, you were already talking avidly

Crafting a tale for your audience. That leaf,

Its tangible responsiveness embodied

In a tactile scrunch, meant that all the world

Was your stage on that bright spring day.

 

Tonight, I chanced upon a leaf

For its levitation caught my eye

A tiny boat waving, hovering,

Floating just above the ground

As if a marionettist were guiding

Invisible strings across invisible waves

This way and that in an almost

Imperceptible breeze. I’m standing

In the same spot as you did then,

A little thing, my chorister-to-be

Telling a tale to a dancing leaf.

 

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dusk returns

i missed dusk for thirty years

of wrapping the day up in the vicissitudes

of grind; now insects own this gentle night-time

of childhood which resides like a construct

inside reincarnated symbols of evenings

in another country, birds I still cannot

quite recognise echo sentiment I can,

I am reading dusk’s tinntinabulation

as the rio de la plata of tonight’s sounds:

an estuary, the confluence of memories

 

 

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Words

our trace

here they are:

endless tracts awaiting reading

books, stories, words, our poems, our writing

our music;

then the names that ring with meaning

Tolstoy, Eliot, George, T.S, James, Henry and William, Andre

Chinua, Serote, Toni, Breytenbach and Kiran, Derrida

did not leave. Wittgenstein’s thought: this is just

as it is.

for each minute, a hundred words

for each word, a hundred minutes more

 

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in which a tree trills

comes this time of year

lorikeets get drunk

on the umbrella

berries, lush orange

fruit awash with

the song of tree

trills; sedated by

ritual, an english

breakfast in hand

I watch these exotic

green and red antics

as if I were a foolish

colonist in a foreign

land I did not

fully understand

 

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