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Lantana camara

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Somewhere,
perhaps,
you are a saint.
No sweet-smelling virtuous angel,
but a rough-and-tumble,
dirty-hands kind of beauty.

However,
in this neighbourhood
you are an outlaw.
You spread your noxious lies,
poison the air,
poke your insidious fingers into every pie.
And
at dawn
we wake to a new master.

Cruel beauty.
I have learned to despise
what I once cherished.
Now that I’ve seen your heart
I will uproot you
without mercy
(except,
perhaps,
from my kitchen vase).

 

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I post this poem with great apologies to Linda and everyone who loves Lantana (especially where it is not an invasive weed). Here Lantana competes with and wins the upper-hand against indigenous species. It is poisonous to both humans and livestock and accounts for a fair number of bovine deaths each year. Lantana also provides shelter to the Anopheles malaria-carrying mosquito.

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Pentecost

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He arrives.
He arrives with breath and fire.
He will breathe on you
and ignite your soul.
He will fill you with firstfruits
and then ask you to return them
a hundred times over
till your cup overflows.

He arrives RUACH.
He arrives PUR.
He arrives to break
and make
again
whole and holy.
He arrives.

He arrives.

(self) Advice for (middle-aged) Angst

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Do you sometimes wonder
what would be
had you received
your childish dreams?
Looking back
are you thankful for
the blessing that came
after your broken heart?

Being denied the bauble
you were entrusted with a gem.
And though the weight of the thing
is sometimes overwhelming
you are always given grace
to bear it.

You were made for more.
Press on.
Take comfort in your companions
and the fervent fellowship
on the rutted road.
Celebrate the wonder of balance,
of perfection in chaos.

Look up.
Watch the expectant sky.
Mercy comes in the morning.

at your feet

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At your feet
I learned how to hide,
to press everything down,
to roll it up and stick it in the back of the broom closet.

You taught me well
to laugh at barbed wires,
to pretend bruises don’t hurt,
to get up every time I got knocked down.

You tutored me in burying pain,
ignoring sirens,
sweeping dust under carpets,
running out of Dodge.

And when I’d grown
I had strong walls,
an impenetrable heart,
scabby knees
and wings.

Psalm 63

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Fragmented words
like crumbed toast
fall,
pulled like lead,
to the floor.

Even cautious steps crackle.

Weary of restless slumber
between sandpaper sheets,
my soul pleads water
but finds dust.

Still
I cling
to hope.

Even when
ears have forgotten how to hear,
eyes have retreated into monochromatic landscapes,
parched mouth has grunted like a great, guttural toad
and feet have stumbled,
I will raise my hands toward your face;
my heart will cry out to you.

Hold me.
Just hold me.

And I will wake
to hear trees clapping with delight,
mountains singing in wild resounding timpanious voice,
oceans bubbling with raucous laughter
and sunshine tingling with melodious jingling chimes.

And I will rise
to see rivers dancing through wastelands,
vibrant colours expanding with breath,
words fledging till they soar,
weaving vigorous vines of flavourful, juice-filled fruit.

I will be stirred
to find a voice of praise
and feet which gambol a dance of unabridged joy.

For you are life
and
I will cling
to this hope.

apple

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thinking i am safe
(hell having passed through)
i breathe
on my knees
in relief
only to discover
i am in the eye of the storm.

if i am indeed the apple
keep me in your heart
for i cannot withstand
another assault.

let me hide,
nestled in quills,
covered in down,
as the gale roars round.

let me be wrapped
in metered timbral tone
and filled with joyous praise.

filled with joyous praise.

Empty Fortress

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I have learned
in the heat of the moment
to still
myself
to the point of death.

Rivers may run from temples,
clouds may crowd round spires,
I batten windows against the approaching storm.

Languidly
drawing a cavernous breath and meting it out slowly,
I receive every furious flurry with calculated calm,
knowing I will out stand them all.

A self satisfied smile
plays about my face
when my enemy is exhausted,
defeated,
deflated.

I don’t bleed anymore.

But sometimes
in the long dark night
I miss the echo
of a beating heart.

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