Milvus aegyptius

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your leaving
in the cold dry winter
is not so much
about the sorrow of parting,
but about the quiet thrill
of your return
in spring.



GloPoWrMo2020bNaPoWriMo  – Day Thirty

Day Thirty Prompt: Write a poem about something that returns.

One of my favourite birds is the Yellow-billed Kite.  Opportunistic birds of prey, they have been known to steal meat right off the braai (barbeque). In flight they are quite spectacular as they dip and soar.

Thanks to those who have joined me in the journey of Poetry Month.  Today another NaPoWriMo (or “Global Poetry Writing Month” for me) comes to an end.  But, like our beautiful YBK’s, it too shall return.  See you next April, NaPoWriMo!


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to breathe




NaPoWriMo  –  Day Twenty-Nine

I could not follow the prompt at NaPoWriMo today.  Don’t ask.
So I went to my “nursery” where I keep all the seeds and ideas of poems/stories.
This was there.  A title and two words.  A start in April of 2017.
It seems like a cop-out, but I couldn’t add anything.  Now it is complete just like this.



Grampa’s Basement


down three worn steps
to an aged wooden door.
small golden key —
ancient yale lock.
stoop to enter.
close the portal behind.
rich, musty, damp earth walls.
thick, dank moist air.
shadowy embracing chill.
passage into a world
of memories and dreams.
light from one hobbitty window
outlines an old concrete laundry tub
and a grey-haired pantry cupboard
whose doors
when unlatched
and creakily opened
reveal rows and rows and rows of
amber bottles of preserved pears,
and golden jars of sugary peaches.
deeper drawn
a rustic workbench
of solid oak planks
covered with jars of nails and screws,
hammers and saws,
planes and wood shavings,
tells tales of pine cradles,
miniature maple locomotives,
and teak rocking chairs.
time stands still.
(in the belly of the whale,
within layer upon layer of silk,
in the embrace of earth)
am i reconnected
(umbilical cord)
and draw life.
in this womb.


GloPoWrMo2020bNaPoWriMo  – Day Twenty-Eight

Day Twenty-Eight Prompt:  Martha Dickinson Bianchi’s description of her aunt Emily Dickinson’s cozy room, scented with hyacinths and a crackling stove, warmly recalls the setting decades later. Describe a bedroom (or another significant space) from your past in a poem. 

Acre of Moon

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GloPoWrMo2020bNaPoWriMo  – Day Twenty-Seven

Day Twenty-Seven Prompt:  Write a poem in the form of a review (of something that isn’t normally reviewed).

Okay — this is actually more of an advertisement than a review.
But I found this quite fascinating!   “Truth is stranger than fiction?”

Almanac in a Time of Crazy

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It’s cloudy and cool with a mild breeze and occasional light rain
in a thatched cottage
surrounded by yellowing grass full of seed and a buffalo thorn.

A bearded man lies dreaming
as an adult male duiker walks past the window.

The warthogs are courting
covid continues killing thousands
and the world is living in sweatpants and pyjamas.

Donald speaks to Mr Tumnus, a faun, on a cable car
about a virus that can be killed by drinking bleach.

Where the wild things are,
hornbills and a stray kitten
(who secretly wants to be an illustrator)
note that
when “I” is turned into “We”,  Illness becomes Wellness
and afternoon siestas encourage grace and peace.

Waterbuck poo and mangos
are quite prolific now.

And I’m sorry;
but we’re closed.
You can’t visit your family.


GloPoWrMo2020bNaPoWriMo  – Day Twenty-Six

Day Twenty-Six Prompt:  Fill out, in five minutes or less, the  “Almanac Questionnaire.” Then, use your responses as a basis for a poem.

Here were my responses:
Almanac Questionnaire
Weather: cloudy and cool with a mild breeze and occasional light rain
Flora: yellowing grass full of seed and a buffalo thorn
Fauna: an adult male duiker just walked past the window and the warthogs are courting
Architecture: thatched cottage
Customs: afternoon siestas
Childhood dream:  to be an illustrator
Found on the Street: waterbuck poo
Export: mangos
Graffiti: when I is turned into WeIllness becomes Wellness
Love: a bearded man who lies dreaming
Conspiracy: that a virus can be killed by drinking bleach
Dress: the world is living in sweatpants and pyjamas
Hometown memory: a cable car
Notable person: Donald
Outside your window, you find: hornbills
Today’s news headline: Covid Continues Killing Thousands
Scrap from a letter: grace and peace
Animal from a myth: Mr Tumnus, a faun
Story read to children at night: Where the Wild Things Are
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: a stray kitten
You walk to the border and hear: I’m sorry; we’re closed
What you fear: nothing, but I am sad I can’t visit my family
Picture on your city’s postcard:  a warthog

In Praise of Life


A reigning cerulean sky — into which everything gets lost —
Is the canvas across which cumuli creep,
Embarrassed to be showing their knickers.
No wind — just stillness prevails.     Absolute stillness.
The first wave of marauders come in March.
Jumping branch-to-branch, limb-to-limb, like popcorn in hot oil,
They are a stage production, actors singing and dancing up and down in a frenetic pace.  Grey go-away birds, starlings (cape and burchell’s), dark-capped bulbuls,
Hornbills (red and yellow), crested barbets, red-faced mousebirds,
Tree squirrels and vervet monkeys.
Every merlot sphere disappears from the deciduous Ziziphus.
And then, so does the chorus.
Intermission.  Take a break.  Use the loo.  Get a drink.  Make small talk.
And then, as the dendro-stage begins to blush, the troupe returns in April.
Curtain up.  Action.  The next crop of fruit is greedily gobbled up.
I sit by my window, less than two metres away, watching the circus.
Separated by glass and google, I am in another universe.
I marvel at this juxtaposition, this twisting and turning.
I love it like the smell of bread just out of the oven,
Sipping sundowners outdoors in the autumn,
Becoming part of a good story,
Watching the outline of a dragon’s tail against a sunset,
Leaning into wind on a beach before the storm,
Deliciously dozing through early morning dreams,
Scenting cumin and first rain,
Melting milk chocolate on my tongue,
Catching a glimpse of eternity.
I hold my breath.  I try to stop time.  Exist now, in this moment, forever.
But perpetuity perpetually stumbles over perpetuity and continues the forward thrust.
We tumble toward our density
And breathe until we cannot breathe anymore.
Molecules get rearranged
And the buffalo thorn blossoms.


GloPoWrMo2020bNaPoWriMo  – Day Twenty-Five

Day Twenty-Five Prompt:   Today’s prompt is here.  It asks us to use the poem Hymn to Life by James Schuyler as a guidepost for our poems. 

I wrote as if I were James Augustine Aloysius Joyce.  (Don’t you just LOVE his name!)  Throwing caution to the wind (a phrase which may have evolved from a line in John Milton’s Paradise Lost), I wrote with abandon whatever came into my head.  Joyce (and Schuyler) would undoubtedly distance themselves from me.  But I had fun (without following the prompt guidelines very well) and perhaps created fodder for future work?

____ of my Eye


You are as mundane as brushing teeth,
as common as ants.
You have more variety than breakfast cereal.
You boast of having traveled the Silk Road with Marco,
and there’s not a place on earth we can’t find you
(although it’s said you don’t fall far from the tree).
You claim royal Chinese blood;
quintessential, you tell us repeatedly
that your name means “fruit”
(and forget to mention it is “evil” in Latin).
You can be sweet, especially when you blush,
but you can also be an acidic little tart.
Credited with bringing health to hundreds,
you’ve been accused of poisoning princesses
and damning the human race.

And I just love
taking off your skin,
slicing you up
and baking you in a pie.


GloPoWrMo2020bNaPoWriMo  – Day Twenty-Four

Day Twenty-Four Prompt:   Write about a particular fruit.

Guess the fruit.  🙂


Gumshoe Dee


half a moon, half a pie,
paper fan, hooded eye,
slice of sunshine going down,
open smile, gaping frown,
citrus segment, melon slice,
semi-circle, bowl of rice,
rainbow curving through the air,
yamika on fringe-cut hair,
sun rising over the sea —
all disguises of letter D.


GloPoWrMo2020bNaPoWriMo  – Day Twenty-Three

Day Twenty-Three Prompt:  Write a poem about a particular letter of the alphabet.

Okay — I think this one is self-explanatory.
(See there, I typed the letter D for that smile!)

At the End of the World, Turn Left

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He keeps a hedgehog in his pocket;
he cleaves the clouds with his nose.
He struts about in his fancies;
where he’s bound, no one knows.

When he deigns to speak to others
he spews platitudes and clichés;
on the back of his white horse
he chases night into day.

Like a pig skating on ice,
the sow goes through the shop,
so we’ll put salt on his tail
and hope it makes him stop.


GloPoWrMo2020bNaPoWriMo  – Day Twenty-Two

Day Twenty-Two Prompt:   Find an idiomatic phrase from a different language or culture, and use it as the jumping-off point for your poem.

Great silliness!  These are (mostly) Welsh idioms.  They paint the most wonderful pictures.  My favourite (which I wanted to use but couldn’t fit it in) is “don’t raise your petticoat after peeing!”  Now, imagine what THAT means!
After this prompt, I’m ready to “swallow a donkey” and I believe “there’s pigs feet on me!”
(translation:  “I’m fed up and really made a mess of this whole thing!”)

Vexed (with menu)


I care.
The total cunctation of choosing from the menu
(potatoes with curate’s egg
or semantically deconstructed felafels),
means I’m doubtful that what seems astringent
can track zilch duplicity of moanful teas.

I am vastly parcelled in care for venison with salsa,
but see tartar sauce on the local menu is poured over palm-acid tuna.

Now I am vexed with double-decent dark azaroles.

I am vexed to dine now.

I am vexed at the scimitar –
long, mournful –
totally sautéing ingredients for the appropriate panfried Cajun-spatula menu,
erst the normal man’s total menu.


GloPoWrMo2020bNaPoWriMo  – Day Twenty-One

Day Twenty-One Prompt:   Find a poem in a language that you don’t know, and perform a “homophonic translation” on it.

Okay — this is just plain strange!
I chose a poem by Dumitru Crudu which was originally written in Romanian.
Here is the original (Click on the link at the bottom to go to the real translation):

cei care l-au cunoscut pe tatăl  
by Dumitru Crudu  from Moldova

cei care l-au cunoscut pe tatăl meu au cunoscut un om puternic şi curajos. nu-i semăn defel. îmi dau seama de asta cu cât trec zilele de după moartea sa. azi l-am văzut pe cel care venise acasă să mă bată şi tata ieşise în locul meu la poartă şi-i arse o palmă şi de atunci nu l-am văzut vreo două decenii, dar azi l-am văzut din nou. l-am văzut la cimitir lângă mormântul tatălui său nu a îndrăznit să se apropie
pentru că în spatele meu era mormântul tatălui meu.

© Dumitru Crudu
First published on Poetry International, 2017

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