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The Way Home

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There is home.

The place from which you were wrenched,

that for which you have spent every moment searching.

Sometimes you are so close,

you can smell the heather

and the pine.

No amount of striving will take you there.

You must settle in yourself,

let go

and dare the drop.

Too much thinking

will obscure the path.

You can only find your way home

by trusting your heart.

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NaPoWriMo
Day Thirty

Prompt: Write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place.

View from a Lost Window

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Early spring,

and the robin-chat

sings for no other reason

than he can,

calling the morning sun

into the sky.

Stretching

I rise

to draw back

the aperture veil.

Dazzling butterscotch blossoms

greet my early eyes,

— a flow of honey,

a field of extraordinary fire —

breaking my breath

and catching my heart

alight.

Years

and casements later

I close curtain lids,

drawing on the memory

of golden streams,

which cause my soul to cry

for the beauty

of clivias.

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NaPoWriMo
Day Twenty-Nine

Prompt: This one is called “in the window.” Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. It could be your childhood neighbour’s workshop or a window looking into an alien spaceship. What do you see? What’s going on? Write it.

I wrote of one of my favourite views OUT of a window.

Clivia miniata

2020

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WHAT?

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NaPoWriMo
Day Twenty-Eight

Prompt: Write a poem that poses questions.

Is this a cop-out? Can one word and a title be a poem? What else can one write after that title? Is this the real poem?

Onism

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We dream

of flying

but we cannot leave the ground.

We long

for home

but only have temporary accommodation.

We reach

for something

just outside our grasp.

Most of the time we walk through this world blindly,

putting our fists through walls which aren’t there,

chasing shadows.

Reality always seems

just around the next corner,

over the horizon.

But every once

in a golden while,

at times when we least expect it,

we gaze into heaven

for the briefest of moments,

and we are undone.

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NaPoWriMo
Day Twenty-Seven

Prompt: Write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. The entries are very vivid – maybe too vivid! But perhaps one of the sorrows will strike a chord with you, or even get you thinking about defining an in-between, minor, haunting feeling that you have, and that does not yet have a name.

I started with ONISM : n. the frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time, which is like standing in front of the departures screen at an airport, flickering over with strange place names like other people’s passwords, each representing one more thing you’ll never get to see before you die—and all because, as the arrow on the map helpfully points out, you are here.

On and On

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Every night in my dreams

I see it, I hear it —

Tell me when this nightmare will end.

It plays there in the station

The taxi, lift and weight room

And I am slowly going ‘round the bend.

Here, there, and everywhere

This melody annoys me to the core.

Over again, an endless refrain

It will play on repeat and rewind

And this song will go on and on . . .

I hum it in the shower,

Find I’m singing it every hour,

Praying that it’ll get out of my head.

Regret when I first heard it,

And even though I’ve spurned it,

I fear forever it’ll always go on and on and on . . .

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NaPoWriMo

Day Twenty-Six

Prompt: Write a parody. Besides being fun, writing parodies can be a great way to hone your poetic skills – particularly your sense of rhyme and sound, as you try to mimic the form of an existing poem while changing the content. Just find a poem – or a song – that has always annoyed you, and write an altered, silly version of it.

Can you guess the song I parodied? Yes: My Heart Will Go On. 😂

Anniversary

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Today

-in many ways-

a day

like any other;

but we remember

another

day on this date

years ago

that changed our fate

forever.

When a plain city girl

fetched

a friend of a friend

from the airport,

and that friend of a friend

was a plain country boy

from a rural African village;

and that city girl

and that country boy

fell fast and deep,

headlong

together.

And through all kinds of storms

we’ve walked

hand-in-hand

as one,

encircled by beautiful children,

strong well-rooted trees

whose boughs reach toward heaven.

How blessed –

we!

⁃ who celebrate today,

a day

years ago

when a city girl

and a country boy

embraced

and discovered

another world.

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NaPoWriMo
Day Twenty-Five

Prompt: Write an “occasion” poem. What’s that? Well, it’s a poem suited to, or written for, a particular occasion. This past January, lots of people who usually don’t encounter poetry got a dose when Amanda Gorman read a poem at President Biden’s inauguration.

Protect Culture

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Culture is of the order Philidota,

from the Ancient Greek.

Culture usually lives in hollow trees

or burrows.

Generally nocturnal,

culture tends to be solitary,

only meeting other cultures to mate.

A number of extinct cultures have been identified

and it is greatly feared

that existing cultures,

due to extensive poaching,

could soon all be things of the past.

Culture has poor vision and is toothless,

however this does not mean culture is defenseless.

Culture is covered with protective scales.

Culture can emit

a highly noxious-smelling chemical

from glands near the anus,

and will use this method of defense

when threatened.

Culture has sticky saliva and often picks up unwanted tidbits.

We must all do what we can to protect culture, for our world would be a much poorer place without it.

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Day Twenty-Four

Prompt: Find a factual article about an animal. A Wikipedia article or something from National Geographic would do nicely – just make sure it repeats the name of the animal a lot. Now, go back through the text and replace the name of the animal with something else – it could be something very abstract.

Guess my wonderful animal.

(I am on holiday [yay!] and have to use my phone to publish, so it might look a bit different .)

Umbrella Thorn

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You stand,
a canopy on the vast savanna.
Your elegant white flowers
perfume the grasslands.
You nervously twist your fruit
into helixing coils.
Beneath your boughs,
the obligatory elephant.

Haak-en-steek, they call you,
for like your cousin Wag-‘n-bietjie,
you wield two weapons —
straight daggers and barbed hooks.

Far from nurturing,
you poison even your own offspring,
preferring to stand alone —
solitary silhouette
against a pumpkin sun.

Resembling the bush you inhabit,
you are harsh and proud.

Iconic tree of Africa,
lift your head.

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NaPoWriMo 
Day Twenty-Two

Prompt: Write a poem that invokes a specific object as a symbol of a particular time, era, or place.

Acacia tortilis.
(I will say it again
for those down under
who might be screaming “Vachellia“)
Acacia tortilis!
(An old woman finds it difficult to change habits.)

The Umbrella Thorn (scientifically known as Vachellia tortilis) is an iconic tree of the African continent.

(Creative Commons License information here.)

I Quit

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You can’t judge a book by its cover.

You can’t cover a dent with paint.

You can’t paint everyone with the same brush.

You can’t brush your teeth with a stick.

You can’t stick a knife in my back.

You can’t back away from a fight.

You can’t fight fire with fire.

You can’t fire me; I quit!

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NaPoWriMo 
Day Twenty-One

Prompt: Write a poem that uses lines that have a repetitive set-up. The way that these phrases resolve gets more and more bizarre over the course of the poem, giving it a headlong, inevitable feeling.

Carry My Spirit Home

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Ziziphus mucronata. Buffalo thorn. Duel barbed spines.

You draw us with red round fruit, then hold us fast: wag-‘n-bietjie.

Why don’t you ever release us — are you lonely, wanting love?

…..

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NaPoWriMo 
Day Twenty

Prompt: Write a sijo (Korean 시조, pronounced SHEE-jo). This is a traditional Korean poetic form. Sijo are written in three lines, each averaging 14-16 syllables for a total of 44-46 syllables. (The lines usually are written in a 3-4-4-4 pattern, the last line grouped as 3-5-4-3.)

I (once again) chose the Buffalo Thorn (Ziziphus mucronata) as my theme. The tree enchants me. When I sit at my desk I look out on a beautiful specimen. How wonderfully it adorns my view! Often hosting a variety of birds (especially when the fruit is in season), it also attracts assorted antelope and squirrels. Its zig-zag twigs are quite striking in the winter when they stand out against the blue sky.

BUT those who know the tree keep their distance. For the Buffalo Thorn, armed with pairs of thorns, one hooked and the other straight, catches human prey and refuses to let them go. Those who struggle to be released are often further entangled. The Afrikaans name for the tree is “wag-‘n-bietjie” which means “wait a bit” (as you will not be extricated easily!). In Zululand when a person dies, their spirit is thought to remain in that place. Branches of the Ziziphus mucronata are used to catch the spirit and return it home with the body.

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