{Tue 13 February 2007}   Psalm 42 Revisited
Psalm 42 Revisited

“As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.”

My soul writhes
over dust-dry land,
sucking promises
from air long dead;
with longing,

My thirst bursts
through aching earth,

Desolation wilts
as desire swirls
into nostrils
and ears,
sweeps me aside
into eddies of abandon,
plucks me back
into the choking

Dormant soil burns
my groping skin,
through claws that gasp
for your eluding

I am drowning
in the lack of you.
Your great
engulfs me,
twists my grasping tongue
till blood flows;
I swallow
my own life-stream
which mirages yours,
O image-maker of whom no image can satisfy.

The above poem responds to: Psalm 42

{Sun 11 February 2007}   whirlwind visit

whirlwind visit

pattering, spattering rain races mission-bent to earth,
alert, seeking, challenging for territory,
it sprays grass and laps up dry land
as poppies pound and skip incorrigibly
to tease its watery muzzle.

today, our trees seem not so much
at mercy of the cavorting current
as at play with it;
dancing, dodging, mocking
leaves laugh out loud
at its tail-chasing;

the old bluegum,
bowing gently to humour
the bristling threat,
lets it sniff around awhile,
then shoos it out

and, with a tailwisp wag, it
whisks over the hedge:
we are unscathed,
but thrilled,


{Fri 9 February 2007}   Tia’s Poems

{Sun 28 January 2007}   About

Hi, I’m Tia. I chose my name when I was about sixteen, kept it inside me for about thirteen years, began to live inside it in 1993, and clothed myself in it officially in 1996. I needed to become, then felt myself becoming, firm and strong. I am still becoming…

1. strike, hit, beat
2. be/become strong/firm
tia dihlaya: look for something to eat
tia kgati: skip
tia nkôkwane: strike the nail on the head
tiya = tia (see: http://africanlanguages.com/sdp/Sesotho sa Leboa (Northern Sotho) – English Dictionary)

I am many other things too: still a “Scottish Jew with an Irish face” as I described myself in a youthful poem (The Ageless Call, 1978), I am most definitely still the child of my mother and of my father, who named me and saw me differently; also, an ex-Christian (or ex-charismaniac, a term I prefer, or apostate, a term some others doubtless prefer) and sometimes a hopeful heretic.

I’m interested in poetry, yoga, tango, process work, rank dynamics, Shakespeare, science fiction, bagpipes, poverty, horses, ethics, philosophy, the enneagram, the aesthetics of public spaces, folk songs, older people, expressive arts therapy, Pablo Neruda, theories of everything, mysticism, Scottish country dancing, the menstrual taboo, the nature of the universe, John Keats, writing, web design, art, mountains, alternative education, vegetables, French, the nature of love, googling, Gerard Manley Hopkins, the history of ideas, unusual flavours, and big black cats, amongst one or seven other things.

As to expertise, I’m a dilettante, but I love to engage. A heartfelt comment on my blog brings me close to orgasm (could you make it happen?).

{Sat 27 January 2007}   Primeval Watercolour
Primeval Watercolour

Primaries pounce on the primitive page,
usurping space with bizarre pizzazz:
Opposing waves squall and break,
brim-brilliant crests crash, create a jazz
of chaos!
Interference drags a screaming thread of blue
across the careful splotches;
panicking through cooling pools of sulphur,
a purple pulse breathes whirls of fire,
willing them to swirl against the caking air,
to savage expectations, flay the fair
and even strokes of intent
with edges of the depths,
fan water into flame
with split-atomic spatterings
of aquamarine and shame
and shatterings
of line, design and reason—
Oh, Image, imagine
Imagination’s breathing:

See a subsequent digital version of this poem here.


{Tue 9 January 2007}   Relativity
Relativity at Injasuti

I, corvine clutcher,
pluck at bits
of reflected sunlight;
grapple rainbow shards
that glitter and twist,
beckon and change;
always over…

streams pour ceaselessly
and the blue skies extend
and the mountains continue
and night is simple,

Dawn’s golden tongue licks over pearly teeth
to melt the half-sucked peppermint
in God’s blue and awesome jaw,
and we are small,
the mountains and I.

And the high orbs lock there, and linger
and challenge for the sky,
for an instant eternal,
but we are hurled on regardless,
the mountains and I.

{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.

et cetera