Tuesday, August 22, 2017


dozing, wrapped in a blanket,
the fire alive as a serpent’s tongue

I’m lost
in the events
amidst the embers.



All day
I’ve been the snake of the medicine cards:
weaving over the sands of my mind,

thoughts coruscations I slide across
and leave
along the way.



My legs folded,
I went down on my knees
before the filthy gutter

– but kind folk came,
got me back on my feet,
steadied me,

the experience


No matter

Where can we write:
tissues of visions
that melt into one another
no matter how one withers.

17.7.2017 (This was Norman’s penultimate poem)

Norman Morrissey

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Best drier

The best drier
of tears
is the wind.


Still calls

I put your underpants
back in the drawer,
your t-shirt into the cupboard.

A time will come
to lose
those rituals

but for now
the Wood owl
still calls.


In each other

At our usual
picnic spot
on the R63

I stop
to note my gladness
at these places

the country
we shared.

We were
without wanting
to be

a restless pair
forced to travel
these roads

– never really
at home



Silke Heiss

Thursday, March 30, 2017


Three women sit,
cooking, eating lunch,
while the working team
shovels and pours cement,
pounds down the shapes.

At the door of the container
where wind swirls, it is cool.
Inside, the office part
and storage space for brick-making machines
is deeper in heat.

The women’s shoes are sensible,
like boy’s shoes,

cement splattered, shaped
to the work, speaking
of their place on this earth,
this work, hard lives.

We’ve had to wait for our meeting,
because cement, mixed,
waits for no one as it sets. 

- Brian Walter

Sunday, March 26, 2017

            Peace in Our Time

This bronze dome
drove ants to nest
in the moistened pot of the Peace Rose,

they have leached the roots
so there can be no flower
– the bud that tried

starved on the stem,
Peace in our time
sorely struck:

Isis gnawing at the guts of its own civilisation,
Malema preaching genocide,
a Trumpet of Jericho braying in the White House.

The rough beast
has slouched to Bethlehem
– been born.

 - Norman Morrissey


a raven
wild about the hollows of my head

– croaking fears
I finally talked back
into the skies,

made my heart a scarecrow
to keep him

 - Norman Morrissey

Monday, February 20, 2017

Helenvale evening

In the twilight the last children
play the pavements,

pigeons circle the waning grey
where a few kites tug
their twine,
the boys catching the last breeze:

and close to the houses

night’s first bat.

 - Brian Walter

Friday, February 17, 2017

Carry on

Numb from news
– hate-speech, violence, lies,
noble essays, reasoned tries
defending values, hoping
to avert bad trouble, blues –

pained by poems
I’ve proofed
– by children and their guides
in townships under siege
by gangsters (“Satan’s servants”) –

I walk The Bluff
knowing, seeing,
but not feeling
the cliffs caressed by mist,
grey old bracken bending,
looking at their young
in bright green hoodies
coming up.

Will I ever be
at one
with what I see
again? Grieved I stand
for loss
of me.

The mists heave lightly,
sucked by sun’s eternal thirst,
revealing slopes of trees
that never have been cursed,
the Proteas and Watsonias
hold up and shake
with flirting birds
(whose avian tongues dispel the worst)

and this
they do:
cancel me
to pull me through.

And I continued
I saw a Longcrested Eagle …
the wind flipped
through his crest
as if it were the Yellow Pages,
and there in silhouette:
he was all focused, black
and grand
and free
to look about him
on The Bluff;

and a little mongoose
did its delicate staccato stipple,
frittered over the path
and was gone;

and I knew
I must go on
cancelling my self
– cancel news and lands of pain –
if I want
to carry on.

                        20th November 2016

 - Silke Heiss

Sunday, February 12, 2017

between the cavities of my ribs

that is where i want to be
there where continents of sound
flow from my throat and fingers
and i give birth to a whole new earth

there where the mighty poetry
determines the rhythm of the day

i feel the interminable knocking in my throat
the never-ending pricking of my ears
i stand to attention
ready for the mighty verse
to land on my palms with full-blooded wings

i dig in the seashells in search
for the truth of the word
i scratch under the toenails of the ostrich
hungry for the metaphor that will surpass all other metaphors

the words lie like ghostly footprints
on the shadows of the night
refusing to be seen or captured

and yet, like small black poppy seeds
the relentless willpower of
the poetry

when the word comes
i know how rapturously the syllables
will melt like ripe slices of avocado on my tongue

let me lie deep within the grip of the word
make me swoon, make me unconscious,
make me fly, make me laugh,
make me shiver
make me free

 - Lara Kirsten

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Hanging the exhibition: 1989

Artists work in the gallery,
moving things,
calling orders, pitted against
the tempest of time:

outside, a little flock
of white-eyes,
a twittering group of swees

brush the bush,
dab colour on the trees,

like autumn hands at work
with palette, brush and turpentine.

 - Brian Walter

Friday, February 10, 2017

Freedom is

The wind on your skin,
your mother’s voice,
embracing a friend,
and that tree
against the skyline
with its branches.

                       2nd November 2016

The melody of rain

The melody of rain in gutter,
the quiet glow of light,
the sated tummy after supper
when everything is right.

                        21st November 2016

 - Silke Heiss

Sunday, February 5, 2017

in die skemering van die verlies

in die skemering van 
die verlies
is my keel nog troebel
van die wil-wil trane
die dae sonder jou hang soos
sugte aan die deurkosyne

dit is asof my selle nou weet

dat ek nie aan jou kan klou nie
iets in my het laat gaan 
die hunkering na 
jou fisiese aanwesigheid 
so ietwat

in die skemering van 
die verlies
is my hart stil
vlietende beelde van jou 
beweeg in my geestesoog
soos wolke in die wind

oralste lê leegtes van 
jou nie-hier-wees
ek kyk met 'n hartseer gelukkigheid na
die reën wat op die pompombome val
die aarde juig oor die breek van die droogte
maar my hart klem met die wete
dat jy nie meer die nat-aarde-reuk 
deur jou trillende neusgate insuig nie

in die skemering van 
die verlies
staan ek mymerend in 
die diep rivier wat 
die onafwendbare verhale 
van die lewe en dood om 
my ledemate fluister

 - Lara Kirsten

Friday, February 3, 2017


My mind is Port St Johns,
with feathered clouds on a morning sky,
sub-tropical tall tree ideas
standing still,

and above all ravens turn
dark feathered, hard birds: no shit.

Their full-throated high rasps
turn the morning
and my mind is in their distant eyes

Now they are down
hopping, or stiff-legged stalking
on the green, like thoughts in fruit,
never as imagined ‒

bits of bread in pincer bills,
and all the other things they eat.

 - Brian Walter

Monday, December 5, 2016

My tiny master

I set my alarm for seven,
but by three fifty
my ears
were conscious,
by four
the Chorister Robin
unlocked his breast,
unleashed his nature,
his duty
to exhort me
and eternity
to the force of morning,
stocked us with warm-blooded abundance of song,
conquered virtuoso trills in the conviction
that forever
the day
must be seized
by music
the beginning.

Up, up! Up! Yes, you!
And I
helplessly laughing
on my pillow
tossed the duvet aside
and obeyed
my tiny master.

                     26th November 2016

 - Silke Heiss

Monday, September 26, 2016


how does one poetize from 
the thoughtless place
there where it is 
only pure spontaneous metaphor
that leaks recklessly from the throat
and in filigree syllables
drips like stalactites in ears?


every morning my spine thaws
and truly, it is my wings that keep on stirring
right into the primordial nucleus
of sensation of the embryonic darkness
that luckily has enough throat 
to groan with the stubborn will of flight

like nails

poetry grows slowly and patiently 
like nails

and like nails poetry is there 
to scratch the itch

and even when the body dies
the nails keep on growing


my fingers shake the sweat 
of the word-fever over
the holes of your ears
that are the subways to 
the underground of your souls
the mercury in the tube 
of your mouths
breaks free with the pressured heat
of the unmasking feverability of word

 - Lara Kirsten

Saturday, September 10, 2016

In downy mist

In downy mist
the robin sits,
repeating patterns of notes,
practising sweetly.

His end trill I know
from a robin at home –
it must be the fashion
among robins this season.

In downy mist
the robin sits
practising sweetly 
his song.

Married couple at evening

Elbows on a low leather pouffe,
bum warm before a fire
she’s stretched in catlike twist
eyes closed
ears pricked

the rain
her husband’s hand shift
on the page
where his poem is coming
into being.


Flat-bummed clouds
sit on the air
as if it were
a pane of glass.

 -  Silke Heiss

Friday, July 29, 2016

Writing season

Storks circle
in a hundred sky-high miniatures

the bush fire rages:
summer heat, South Africa.

The swifts are in:
Palm swift, Little swift, Horus

‒ cutting air-paths.
There’s nothing I can say

any longer, I suspect:
I am a smoke voice

in the winds, signifying fire,
smoke-smell, but not the thing

itself. I am a door, opening
on a hinge to nowhere,

and no-one stands to knock.
Once, under anaesthetic,

they cut my body:
I woke up bloody, and hurt.

It took weeks of blood-smell
and pain before I felt

right. Now the wound
is in my very flesh and being:

the swifts swoop close,
the storks circle in.

- Brian Walter

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Someone brought me a hurt swift
that I laid in a box
in the hope he’d recover;
but he slipped away
through a hidden crack
‒ so I laid what he’d left
in the earth to wither.

Heart's Journey

We travelled all day
through  country
close to my heart;

then I read poems
that traced
my heart's journey.


Last night
we talked and drank wine
and you and I danced

as you settled into the old house
through the keyhole
of a bit of ritual

that made you feel at home

Brief Passing

As the brown leaves
on the paths,

powder underfoot,
my heart is heavy
with mortality

 – with the brief passing

 - Norman Morrissey

Monday, July 4, 2016

Greater than I

I remember a time,
once I was a person
before I was powder
by a husband’s betrayal, his buckling
under a woman’s decrees
that he divorce immediately
disown his family
and I not see our son
except in times and places fit for her –

so the long, long road
to and fro gruelling
endlessly re-fuelling
to get my child
– resentful, grieved, skin and nails bitten –
breaking my heart
by a to and fro aching:
thorns of a foreign province

before I became powder
through illness in the man I loved,
his hole of debt,
his mental scree,
his efforts to endure and help me

I was
– was I? –
a person

before the office job
 – three telephones crying for hospitality,
the screen a diarrhoea of mails
each day to be wiped away quietly,
and praising or complaining guests
to be sweetened equally –

dimly I remember far away
– was I once
a person?
… this implosion is not of the body:
my thighs are silky, strong,
I wash myself still,
go through the rituals of toner, moisturiser, lotion,
hungrily eat what you cook …

but it’s a once-was lovely shell you feed,
inner mettle crushed
to powder, dust.
I suffered too much
so you must not,
don’t come near me now.
Nothing holds
together –
there’s nothing to hold these years on me,
the pressure has been
greater than I.

 - Silke Heiss

Monday, February 22, 2016


my hart trek
in die vorm van
‘n klok

ek prewel ‘n gebed
mag ons nie lui raak met liefde en
nooit die noodsaak van die skeppingsdaad minag

ek begin lui van diep binne my bors
dit tril en ril deur my al my spiere totdat my lyf 
opstyg en beier die wye lug in

           word wakker wêreld, word wakker!
           die nuwe dag breek aan soos ‘n swael-seisoen
           in vlug na die reuk van somer

 - Lara Kirsten