Fiscal Shrike


Butcher Bird,
they’ve called you.
Lanius collaris.
Jackie Hangman.
You wear your
taxman gown
with pride.
Using acacia spikes
you pepper the trees
with your prey,
turning the bushveld
into a Christmas wonderland,
brightly coloured locusts
littering limbs.
Your pantry,
Mr Shrike,
is full.

Fiscal shrikes (Lanius collaris) are some of my favourite birds.

I have been away from pen and paper for far too long.  Thank you for the Quadrille prompt at dVerse, hosted by De Jackson (aka WhimsyGizmo). A quadrille is a poem of exactly 44 words and today’s word is “spike.”

Why don’t you try and take a stab at it!  🙂



One Month


So long have I been gone.
So long have I neglected the pen
and the blank page
(which glares at me
like neglected lover
with naked accusations).

Excuses —
I have barrels of them.
Justification —
I can make my case.

But the page remains bare
and the damning evidence
is blinding.

Difficult to restart a frozen engine.

But I will try.

Yes — NaPoWriMo
(or in my case, GloPoWriMo)
is set to begin again
on the first of April!

Check it out
and perhaps you can join me?

‘Twould make the journey much more exciting!!!

Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo!


You come with sticks, you come with stones
and odious words we can’t condone.

You laugh at us and call us weak,
yet we still rise to turn the cheek.

Our silence like a torrent falls
and thunders through your doddery walls.

You turn your back, you walk away,
deaf the ears to what we say.

Our fists and voices we do lock.
You strike the women, you strike the rock.


Today Lillian, our host at dVerse, asks us to write a poem to celebrate 9 August (which is National Hand Holding Day, National Rice Pudding Day, National Book Lovers Day, National Polka Day and International Day of the World’s Indigenous People).

Here in South Africa, 9 August is a very important day.  It is WOMEN’S DAY.  It is not just a day to celebrate the women in our lives, it is a day to remember the part that women played in bringing democracy to this land.  It celebrates women of the past and challenges women in the present to stand up for what is right.

Here’s a brief description of the history of the day:

On 9 August 1956, more than 20,000 South African women of all ethnicities staged a march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria, South Africa, in protest against the proposed amendments to the “pass laws.”  (The “pass laws” required South Africans defined as “black” to carry an internal passport, known as a pass, that served to maintain population segregation, control urbanisation and manage migrant labour during the apartheid era.) The march was led by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Rahima Moosa and Sophia Williams.  The women left 14,000 petitions at the office doors of prime minister
J G Strijdom. The women stood silently for 30 minutes and then started singing a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock.).  In the years since, the phrase has come to represent women’s courage and strength in South Africa.

9 Aug 1956




joy comes.

joy comes with.

joy comes with the morning.



Intro to Poetry
Day Eight: Pleasure
Write a poem about pleasure and use anaphora.

Life has not been particularly pleasurable of late.
And that’s okay. Life is like that.
This is all I could muster.
Everything else seemed synthetic.
But this is true.

Dyslexic Cookery Book

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Generously mix
flavourful berries,
fruity with whole notes.
chives and
Try anything plain
with a skewer inserted
until smooth.
biltong and
Combine and blend
until golden brown
then sprinkle
with cheese.
artichokes and
It’s so easy to eat
from the can.


Intro to Poetry
Day Seven: Flavour
Write a poem about flavour
and try writing it as found poetry.
(Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry [a literary equivalent of a collage!])
I used two pages of a food/grocery store magazine. 🙂

long, long day


for hours
at this palm-sized
willing it to show
anything everything
of how you are
as you
lie flat on your back
for hours
at a wall-mounted 
for the doctor.


Intro to Poetry
Day Six: Screens
Write a poem about, against, or in homage to the screens in your life and
give enjambment a try.


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Earth covered in perennial waste
while humans are ME- and NOW-based.
No one seems to care
for the space we share.
Our greed is cyanide-based.


Intro to Poetry
Day Five: Imperfect
Write a poem about the imperfect nature of someone or something.
And (CHALLENGE, for sure) use the form of a limerick.

(Limerick . . . not my favourite form in which to write!!!)

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