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Month: February 2018

She sits there opposite me

She sits there opposite me
In that old chair of hers
Knitting those strange shapes she made
Toys, animals, useful things
So many – I have some still
In some forgotten corner of my life

She sits there opposite me
Wrapped against the cold
Her breathing sometimes shallow
Sometimes laboured, sometimes still
So far, so very far
From my youth remembered time

She sits there opposite me
So frail and grey and worn
Her vibrant life reduced, debased, displaced
By depression, despair and pain
And saddened we
Sit with her and we cry

She sits no longer where
So staunchly once she did
Her one warm chair now empty stands
Soundless like a vault
And poorer now we live
With remembrance of a once great life

29/11/2009

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Heat Haze

Beneath a sky cast sapphire blue
By a stand of lonely blue gum trees
Some cattle gather shaded from incessant heat
Still they stand, panting statues
Except for ears flicking flies away
Across the red dust dry veld
A dust devil whirls tall
Past shimmering, stuttering skull white houses
Hurling papers and bits
In an impotent rage against the hot hard ground
From the distance the sound of a tractor ploughing
Deep furrows in a deeper landscape
For mealies
Or sorghum
I sit out on the stoep this African afternoon
And view, through pipe smoke haze
The distant koppies and blood red ground
Of a Western Transvaal
Held in heats oppressive grip
I drink my fill
Of homemade pineapple beer
Chilled in a glass filled with ice
And gaze serenely on this placid place
Unable to move or think or talk
Wet with sweat my clothes cling
To a glistened body tanned brown
By sun and wind and work
But not today

22/04/1998

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The Sin of Underprivilege

And another one dies
Of AIDS, of TB, of cancer
What does it matter?
We don’t care
Why should we?
It doesn’t affect us
Secure in our towers of privilege
Looking down on those below.
How easily we condemn their poverty
From our exalted positions
Do we really need them?
We ask themselves
They are just an eyesore
On our cultured landscape
They don’t contribute anything
Useful
To our lives
We are better off without them!
And outside
Another one dies.

16/07/1990

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View from a window

Sun setting
Behind hills of brown
Crows fly
Crows cry
Beneath greying clouds
The old shepherds road
Lies empty now
A home for thistle
And heather
And memories
A burn peat stained
Chases down
Steep gullies
Over rocks and tumbles
To darkening river below
And flows sludge slow
Under stone still bridge
Past field
And bank
To forest shadowed
All is quiet now
The still of dusks deep desire
For peace
And solitude
And death
Of day
And birth
Of night

19/09/1998

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