A Rose By Any Other Name


Brier, bramble, gorse and furze,

Nettles, spines and sticky burrs.

Prickle, stickle, thistle, thorn —

Reminders when the curse was born.

Raspberry, blackberry, wag ‘n bietjie here.

Redberry lips approach the bier.

Remove a barb and beast’s a friend.

Pies for pudding, a fitting end.


Linda is hosting at dVerse today and challenges us to write a Quadrille (poem of exactly 44 words, excluding the title) using the word “bramble.” Come play!

For those of you who may not know, “wag ‘n bietjie” is Afrikaans for “wait a bit” and is one of the names for the Ziziphus mucronata tree (also known as the buffalo thorn), called “wait a bit” because the thorns are known to hook and hold its victims.



Crafted by hand
from the heart of mahogany,
the precious spinning top
lies skew
a stack of unread books.
I pick it up,
cool and smooth
in the palm of my hand.
As my fingers close about it
I remember you
and bring it
to my lips.
Remember how we revolved around each other
in a whirling, dizzy speed?
But imperfectly balanced,
friction slowed our movement
and gravity brought us down,
pulling us into a wobble
from which there was no return.
Now I’ve lost my axis
and all I have left
is this



At dVerse, Merril asks us to write about revolution.

Till we have faces


Till we have faces (there’s)
no way of knowing
the weather of the heart.

Honey, I love
one people,
(the) uncommon type
(with) tattoos on the heart.

poem book titles



Over at dVerse, Björn is having fun making poetry from book titles on his shelf and challenges us to do the same thing!  SO MUCH FUN!!!  Try it!

A Daughter Married


I rush each day
to be the one
opening the curtains,
meeting the camellia flush
unfolding across the sky.

I stand
for what seems like hours,
capturing the same joy
I witnessed on your face
as you met the eyes
of your beloved.



It’s Quadrille Monday  at dVerse and Mish has asked us to use the word “flush” in a poem of exactly 44 words (not including the title).


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So many gone.
Someone’s brother.
Someone’s gran.
Counting casualties
like a war
……….(rogue virus
……….in an age of rogue)
and we’re warned

(stay in,
stay calm,
do a jigsaw,
write a novel,
watch a movie
or two,
or ten)

it’s the tip
of an iceberg
like we’ve never seen before.

So we’ve hidden
……….(like the duck’n’cover
……….we used to rehearse
……….in grade school
……….in case of a nuclear strike)
from the tyranny
of this silent,
microscopic enemy.

But somebody tell me:
will this king be gone
when we all come out?


NaPoWriMo  – Day Seventeen
Today, I have gone off script.

Under lockdown we wait this out, keeping in touch with family and friends, making sure we are all still safe.

Yesterday we learned the brother of a friend died of complications from Covid-19.  It was a terrible, violent thing.  And no one could gather for good-byes at his bedside.  There will be no funeral.  His wife must grieve alone.  His children bear the news from their places of isolation.

Suddenly the victims have faces and families, names and lives.  Now they are real.
We are finding our way through this pandemic one day at a time.
And our question should not be “When will this threat be over?” but “What will we do to prepare for the next time?”

One Moment


There was a moment once,
just once,
when everything
Not one being drew breath.
Even the celestial bodies paused,
the weight nearly crushing creation.
It was the only time
heaven’s door has closed,
as a solitary man
cried out,
then died.


GloPoWrMo2020wDay Six NaPoWriMo 2020
Today I did not follow the prompt at NaPoWriMo.  You can check it out, if you like.  It was just too difficult a reach for me.
So, I went to one of my most favourite places, dVerse, where De Jackson (aka WhimsyGizmo) is hosting Quadrille Monday.  A Quadrille is a poem of exactly 44 words (not including the title) and today De has chosen the word CLOSE (pronounced either way, and as any form of speech)  to be used in the poem.  Try it!



For a quarter-of-a-century
this was my home.
Year by year
I seeped into every wall,
used my heart
to jump-start
the gentle buzz of life
until each room
was permeated
with the fragrance
of joy.
There were dusty shelves
and dirty windows,
unwashed floors
and unwelcome clutter covering every flat surface,
a multitude of sins
to the rafters.

Leaving was like
tearing a scab from a wound.

This house will heal —
but it will never
be mine


Frank is our host at dVerse today and challenges us to use a polyptoton somewhere in our poem.  A polyptoton is a stylistic device in which a word derived from the same root is repeated (like “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton).

We moved during the course of this year.  Need I say more?

Ode to Choje*



You raise
fat, fleshy fingers
in praise of sempiternal sky.

You rise
from unyielding ysterklip,
painting the desert sand
with lucent lemon blossoms.

You lend
your limbs
as quivers and cups.

You stand
like stalwart stewards
of the bountiful earth.


It’s Quadrille Monday and De Jackson (AKA WhimsyGizmo) is the host at dVerse.
She challenges us to write a poem of exactly 44 words (not counting the title) and to include (this week) the word “quiver.”

*Notes on Ode to Choje
Aloidendron dichotomum
, known as the quiver tree, is a tall, branching species of succulent plant indigenous to the Northern Cape of South Africa and southern Namibia).
Known as choje to the indigenous San people, the tree gets its English name from the San people’s practice of hollowing out the tree’s tubular branches to form quivers for their arrows. The quiver tree is classified as critically endangered.  Numbers have diminished steadily, in part because of goats and plant collectors, and also because climatic conditions have affected seedling growth.
“Ysterklip” is Afrikaans (directly translated as “ironstone” in English) and is commonly known as dolorite.

PHOTO: Wikipedia Commons
Simone Crespiatico
Quiver Tree Forest, Namibia

The Stranger Who Was Your Self


At first it was spite that drove her.  But soon she began to enjoy her times at the gym.  She’d listen to all manner of podcasts and music.  She noticed her appetite decreased. It was easy, almost natural, to pass on all the high-kilojoule sugary things in favour of fresh fruits and vegetables.

One Saturday evening, nearly a year later, as the waitress was showing them to their table, Katie stopped halfway through the restaurant.  “Mark!” she exclaimed.  He stood, his facial expression metamorphosing as he recognised her. 

“Katie!  You . . . you look . . .”

She’d planned what she’d say.  Your loss, buddy!  Or  Eat your heart out!  Instead she gave him a sincere smile.  “Thanks, Mark.’  She turned and followed the waitress.

At the end of the meal she read the fortune in her cookie:  “You will love again the stranger who was your self.”



At dVerse, Kim from Writing in North Norfolk, asks us to write a Flash Fiction story in 144 words that includes the following line from ‘Love After Love’, a poem by Derek Walcott:   ‘You will love again the stranger who was your self’.

I am a woman of many words, so this was difficult for me, BUT lots of fun!  Why not try your hand at Flash Fiction?

African Summer


Silenced under a blanket of heat, the dark inert night
holds its breath, strains to hear the unvoiced whisper,
seeks signs of spirit, any reason for hope.
A train whistle calls out across the lonely sky.
Lungs lined with fine brown dust, each creature still.
Waiting. Hoping. Praying. Tears long since dry.

The moon reflects vulture-picked bones, deathly white and dry,
but she brings no chill to the deep airless night.
Even the incessant cicada lies voiceless and still.
A drawn-out sigh of a worn aardvark creates not even a whisper.
Gaunt trees raise their spindly fingers to the barren sky
while below the labyrinthed termites are encased in terracotta hope.

Patient panthera with crust-coated eyes, dares to hope.
The immobile cubs sprawled abreast her teats, cracked and dry,
will again playfully pounce and wrest glory from the sky.
Like statue stands the quill pig through the night
striving to unearth the faintest whisper
of breeze, but yet the bush is deathly still.

While all seems lost, surrender but a waft away, still
there beats within each creature some forgotten hope.
Then comes a subtle suggestion of a whisper,
a minute stir of cool draught, a curious fragrance atop the dry
crackling wild domain which lies beneath the static night
and a distant murmur echoes across the sky.

In the periphery (could it be?) a rip in the starless sky
but as eyes turn to look it closes into swift still.
As heads return to earth (there it is!) a rumble in the night.
(And yes!) another flash. A distant scent of green hope.
Minutes like hours pass. (Now nothing.) But in the dry
air there passes like a phantom, a voiceless whisper.

Then it starts.  Pit!  Pat!  Pitter!!  Patter!!  The soft whisper
of fat full drops falling from the night sky
hitting the dust, sending small clouds of dirt so dry
into wet wind, washing the world, making mad mud, still
pounding the earth, running rivulets of sweetness.  Hope
is brought to fruition as the heavens crack open the night.

The small quiet whisper in the dark still
has opened the sky and brought bountiful hope
to the once dry land of the African night.



SESTINA!  Yes, over at dVerse Victoria is challenging us to write a Sestina.
It is a long poetic form written with six words which get repeated at the end of each line.
I’m not lying, this was really a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.  And I am not fully satisfied with this piece and will probably continue tweaking it over weeks to come.
But it was a great challenge and I encourage you to join us!

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