{Wed 29 November 2006}   Escalator

Lonely in London,
people float upward above me,
headless dreamers
on an earthbound Jacob’s ladder.

Denying gravity,
their sheer mass hovers
static in my airspace.

Our chariot screams, heaving
in metallic anguish, straining
its indifferent load to the spewing
forth, the spattering

of conscious flesh
upon the unconscious pavements
of this ancient present.

{Sun 26 November 2006}   On deciding not to marry a priest
On deciding not to marry a priest

Let us, as much as now within us lies,
Cherish these moments, and the memories
Of others such, not letting Cupid’s cease
Cry knell to friendship. Though he dearly dies,

Let’s celebrate with piercéd shining eyes
The new enlargement of those mysteries
Of discourse: soul’s and flesh’s discoveries,
Added as laurels to each other’s prize.

Then, let us coolly choose the sacrifice
Of valued passion for very valiant peace
That rules with justice o’er our yielded lease
And flattens mountains to make valleys rise.

That bonds, beyond the fail or flawed surprise
Of Nature, which forth from Father’s Spirit flies.

{Fri 24 November 2006}   pillion

I have you
warm between my knees
you are lightly held
as the wind blows cool
against our coming

{Thu 16 November 2006}   Die Skoene Jag
It’s doubtless no longer politically correct to make Van der Anyone the butt of any joke, but perhaps readers will forgive this poem on understanding that I wrote it at age 13. I’ve just rediscovered it on going through an ancient poetry notebook. Anyone who remembers my Dad will recognise him as my source for this – he had so much pleasure in the telling of this story and so I’m publishing the poem in memory of him. Thanks for the lighter side, Dr. Peter John Burman!

Die Skoene Jag

Van der Merwe sien ou Doep
Loop-loop langsaan by sy stoep.
Ou Doep dra ‘n mooi pak klere,
Soos ‘n volstruis met sy vere.
Op sy voet ‘n lekker skoen
Maak sy voorkoms mooi voldoen.

“Haai, ou pel! Daarop jou voet
“H’t ek nooit so ‘n lekker skoen ontmoet!
“Sê vir my, waar het jy
“So ‘n lekker skoen gekry?”
“Jy kan dit nie in winkels koop,”
Is die antwoord van ou Doep.
“Jy moet jag, indien jy wil,
Gaan skiet nou maar ‘n krokodil.”

Elke nag het Van gegaan
Na die rivier onder volle maan.
Ongelukkig, soggens tuis,
“Niks gesien, nie nog ‘n muis!”
Toe besluit hy laaste keer
Krokodil te soek by die rivier.

Hierdie keer, tot sy geluk,
Het krokodil op bank gebuk.
Van der Merwe skiet die dier,
Gaan in die water, trek hom neer.
Maar Van het ongeluk ontmoet:
“Die dom krokodil is mos kaalvoet!”

See my literal translation of this poem here: The Shoe Hunt. You can also enjoy the Americanized version by David Ennis in the Comment below.

{Tue 14 November 2006}   Insect Insight

Insect Insight

Elusive truth, when platitudinous,
Unclouded, blinds us to its happy light;
Its brightness then too obvious for sight,
We miss it still and moan its loss to us.
Then miserable, we seek in darker paths
Transforming myst’ries of enlightenment:
Unravelling myths, by man and heaven sent,
We pursue insight through our deepest wraths.

Until one day (by chance, not skill),
While gazing in the looking glass,
We suddenly spy a dragonfly,
Beyond our shoulder, on the hill,
Which, as it flits from pool to grass,
Gives light intensely to the sky.

{Sun 12 November 2006}   friend


where is
warm space
soft space
cool place
firm place
i could be
without holding on
without touching sides
inside your smile

i could be
warm, soft, cool, firm
held in small


{Fri 10 November 2006}   Fairy Tales
Fairy Tales

The house is cold.
Windsweeps whistle in chimneys,
showering hearths with blackest melodies.

Our shivering hearts tell Cinderella stories
while, underneath us, the rats
roll a pumpkin around in the cellar.

God, mother!
Speak true.

{Mon 6 November 2006}   Now Through a Darkling Glass
Now Through a Darkling Glass

As children, playing into night,
We took light with us;
Sure, with strident voices,
That love of life would give us sight

Into the corners of our dreams;
That the Good Fairy
Would always tarry
To transform our fear of those realms

Into mystery: Our faithfulness
Would raise Tinkerbell
And then we could tell
The world we’d save them from the pirates!

We stepped through the mirror of our souls
Into Wonderland,
Whirled hand-in-hand
With its hugeness, and we stole the whole

World’s supply of fireworks and flowers,
Fit to celebrate
In pomp and state
The Starships’ return from the faraway hours

Of Outer Space: they brought galaxies
Home with them to us,
Exploding consciousness
With tales and plans and possibilities

Of coming conquests; brought us near
To a future
Now faded and far,
As seeing shades our glass once clear.

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{Thu 2 November 2006}   Contract
One of you
I could not be —
Yet, to be not-with-you, I need you:
Your is defines my notness.

In return,
My otherness highlights you.
I am not one of you,
But I am one, and of you,
And by my aberration,
Your circle knows itself as round.

et cetera