6 january 2016

A room in the past

It is a kitchen with a big settee,
and big old coal and wood stove,
a big table where the whole extended family
ate great meals, sat chatting for hours
sounding to outsiders
like a riot
with a fire burning joyously 
or only having comforting glowing coals
 
and at eleven in the morning, or four
in the afternoon
tea in porcelain cups, sometimes Swiss roll
or her own fruitcake
soaked in brandy
and baked to perfection was served.
 
It was a place where my grandmother
was bigger than life,
a lady born from Scottish ancestry,
but more an Afrikaner than me
with a true belief in the creator God,
where her love was a dazing light
 
till one sad night, leukaemia finished her years,
stripped her from me
while I was away at university
and the family
had never been the same again
like it was then
 
and suddenly that kitchen, that house
was stripped bare from furniture,
was painted and sold
and somehow I was the only one
who did not get
any last words from her.


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other poems: For now and for always, The temptation of being near to her, Your walking away is measured in watt, In the garden (ABECEDARIUM), Just for a moment it is there, There are people, Unknowing we may be living in a war zone, Holiday, I yearn for the secrets of nature (sonnet), At 52 the nuts of my country are stripped, A strange dream (triolet), The beach, the morning, Where star systems do disappear in the nought (sonnet), Come to my flower garden, Warriors of the civil service, This morning the sky glitters blue, You must not show any fear, My dear loving God, Sad tidings, Morning, Mirror image, The sun hangs orange red, Divorce V, Divorce IV (Espinela), Divorce III, Divorce II (cavatina), Divorce, Respite, At times we are only set on passing (American sonnet), The peach tree, The gardener, The old guitar (cavatina), Dear Lord God, Still life, Two sides to everything (cavatina), I have missed my country, The sardine run, He lies stretched out in the sun, Africa, There’s no other country, When death’s fingers do me touch, I wonder where is an untouched place that firmly does stand, You never came, I am afraid, The silent countdown, Without matter, Dare you character?, Once I wrote a kind of happy song (Orléans rondel prime), There is no other saviour, Alone we come into the world (for my mom on mother’s day), With hunger in your eyes, Please do forgive, Hoba West Meteor, When I do consider how my time is spent, I see him doing carpentry, When the two of us met, John Phillip, On Pretoria (Italian sonnet), Return, Cecil John Rhodes (Italian sonnet) (in answer to Rudyard Kipling), Afterwards, I walk in the veldt near to Majuba hillock, Vain are the words and deeds that are mine (Rubiyat sonnet), When I do find no place of peace (sonnet), Why I remember the Anglo-Boer war (John Dee sonnet), Lord, only in Your footsteps (Persian / Rubiyat quatrain), On a night, Far too quickly time rushes on (Persian /Rubiyat quatrain), Like any other person, She lives beautiful (sonnet), Where this world is but a grain of sand, On the day of my birth, The crucifixion of the Son of God, Today my heart is full of joy, A prayer (Sonnet), On my birthday, My heart has gone quite in me (Persian / Rubiyat quatrain), Come to me, Soldier: yesterday, At this place I have been before (sonnet), There had been a kind of loneliness, When the early the morning does begin (cavatina), Constantly I am astonished, When I hold you tight, Life is a gift, Bus trip at night, I have not seen the spark of life, Kamikaze, Lucifer at sunrise, The things in a town, When from me she is out of sight, How chilly like winter, Some times, I love you, Long Beach, As my eyes gaze into the dark night, I see her dancing gaily, Right against the morass, African September, A room in the past, The secret room, It had been a hell of spring with the sun hanging scorching, The marsh, For my darling, with New Year, The old year, Today people are not interested, South Africa is also my country, In this distant country, What fanciful lives we lead, As if they are beacons, You are my darling (sonnet), On Christmas, Last night I dreamt of you, Where are we now?, I had dreamt of you, At night the mind plays its tricks, Inside you and I dance, One Military Hospital, Something about a bird in a tree, While the year hangs skeleton, I gave my love to you, No other painting, Field of maize, The red arum lilies, Would my words, When the front door, At dusk, Child, Cry, Maybe 4, Maybe 3, Maybe 2, To be us, Photocopy machine, I do love Africa, While everything is turning brown outside, The crumbling man, My small Jack Russell dog, With self contempt I stand in the veldt, The fallen Cuban soldier, There is a time when night sneaks in, After the farm invasions in Zimbabwe, The small redbreast sings and dances, I love you, Walls, A child is a strange thing, Baby lies so fast asleep, It is a pitch-dark night, Hecuba, A pastor,

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