moths and rust

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decay and entropy.

(everything swings round in a cycle –
cycles upon cycles within cycles)

in all of creation
man is the only creature
who actively fights cavities and plaque,

who wrestles
(kicking and screaming
biting and clawing)

who grapples with matter
to matter ,

who refuses to believe
(despite the fact that all 10 billion individuals before him
have died)
that he is mortal.

are we
somewhere in our innermost part
remembering a time
before time
when decay and entropy
weren’t part of the equation?

or are we
just afraid
of the unknown?


Two Sides of Yesterday

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Why rehash what’s done?
It’s done.
Echoes in each passage.
Around each corner — a relic of the past.
Leave it be.
It is part of you.
Move on.
The foundation upon which the future lies.
Live in the present.
Enjoy the now.
Disregard the what is gone.
If you run fast enough it will never catch you.
If you don’t face it, the past will imprison you.
Embrace the whole.

for Maya

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natural Pearl
(iridescent gemstone
created to suppress
an annoying parasite)
you blossomed to beauty.

they tried to take you,
throw you before swine,
silence you;  but
in silence
your words grew strong and powerful
and tore apart illusion.

no babbling brook this,
but raging night rain
which emancipates truth.

you spent yourself
holding a mirror up to the world.
we dare not look away.

i will stand

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I will stand.
Though I am confused and frightened,
Weary and worn.

I will stand.
Though the world is in disarray
And children fall never to rise again.

I will stand.
Though the scorching heat sears the land
And the waters rise to drown.

I will stand.
Though I be emptied of all but grace
and lose the only me I know.

I will stand.
And having done all
I stand.

Hunting Woozles

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We circle that tree

that mountain

that wilderness

again and again and again.


Always moving

trudging on

thinking we’re getting somewhere –

but finding ourselves back at GO

(if we’re lucky a few pounds heavier).


Never quite sure,

(Are we running

to or from


but round and round we go.


Then, when we are down

we look up

and catch a sympathetic grin.


What bliss those days

when warm fingers close about ours

and take us home

for Luncheon Time.

you sit

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how quietly you sit.
you will not move
for fear of falling.

the choices are overwhelming

you say.

you just can’t decide

so you will sit.
you sit.

what you don’t seem to understand
is that in your indecision
you have already chosen.

you sit.

In Praise of a Ficus

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Ficus at JWSE

O mighty tree,

O wondrous Ficus natalensis,
you lift your strong, solid arms to the sky.
You push your podgy, gnarly roots into the earth.
You fling your thin, aerial hair to the wind.
O bountiful fig arbour,
you create manna on terra firma,
bringing hope to perishing fauna.
You provide cool relief in the hot African summers.
You give shelter in the driving rain.
You are home to thousands –
arthropods and reptiles,
amphibians and mammals.
O mighty tree,
O mighty Ficus natalensis,
let me wrap my limbs about your bole,
press my face into your coat
and feel your surging, silent power.



In Zulu culture there exists “izibongo” or “praise songs / poems.”
These praise poems are wondrously full of amazing images.
Usually delivered by an imbongi (praise singer) these praise poems commemorate leaders and heroes.
Lesser known are the “common” praise songs, those which honour a family or person in a community.

I took this idea of a “praise poem” and wrote one for one of my favourite trees.
This idea, of writing a praise poem for a “thing,” made the children in my class laugh.
Then I challenged them to write a praise poem for a part of nature that they like.
The results were delightful.  I will ask them for permission to publish their words here.

In the meanwhile, if you’d like to know more about traditional Zulu Izibongo,
go here.



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