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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Baking

Some absences remain unexplained.

 

I stare at the mix master churning

Inside.

 

I used to knead by hand,

The gooey attempt of a ten year old

Which, said the neighbour,

He would not eat, just look

At it. It

Was a lopsided cake.

 

So simple, the gentle rotations

A golden mix as light

As words tossed about a table

Such a long time ago.

 

There were many good

Cakes and then

I stopped baking.

 

Reflections and recollections

Go round and round

 

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Unexpectedly, a Begonia

A pot of soil rescued from obscurity

Sits comfortably on the windowsill

New violet babies nestling aside

Mother leaf. At first glance

Long stems seemed odd

The strange one of this family

Of petite squat dumplings,

Too leggy, too awkward, a non-

Conformist going its own way.

Only when the leaves unfurled

With stoic elegance, did I notice

Streaks of beauty so striking

That no depth of green would

Again match a green such as this:

Pigment ground from a thousand

And one ancient river-green inks,

Nor would a grace so humble

Quietly appear, to preside so

Among my potted friends.

 

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