Across The Glens

Across the glens
And through the trees

In Monarch antlers
Pollen breeze

We’d meet with love
And remedies.

A stagnant pond,
A ferrous stream,

By dreaming frogs who
Spoke in croaks of

Folklore and their journeys,
They woke a whisper of moths

Under mossy lichen-logs
Where we sat, held hands

And fell asleep in folds
Of wisdom and each other’s

Loss as if in blankets or ferns.
No one else could understand,

There’s no one quite like
You and me, for compassion’s

Company, not a single queen
Or king or woman or man,

Across the glens
And burning land.

First Finches

First finches having landed,
Found a suitable place to nest
In rooftiles’ gapped teeth.

Lichen gums, worn enamel,
A tap that can’t be turned off,
I live in a land of crow’s feet

And magpies as relentless as
Camels traversing Saharan
Landscapes. I remember beads,

Kaftans, strange dreams of
Otherworldly animals
Drinking from a sandy stream.

These finches did not know
The motives of crows; now
All I hear is a constant alarm

Like a monotone screech,
A warning, a rallying call to live,
Though their breasts may be

As small as young dwarf
Coconuts before they fall
On undiscovered islands.

Haiku #390 – #393


Drizzle days, this cage
Is rusty, of aged metal.
Make me next petalled.


Duck dreams in stomachs;
We could have built such systems
For love, and kindness.


But we built instead
Blind slaughterhouses.
I’ll sit beneath blooms


Of cherry blossom;
You are never forgotten,
Merely different.

Ice Cream Van Blues

Modified vehicle, Siren’s tune,
A waveless estate long-lurking through;
Like whitetip sharks in a shipwreck’s stew,
You feel the bite before it’s due.

His sign declared with wide misspellings
That a Key Worker here is ice-cream selling;
Maranhão has unabated rainforest felling,
But when was truth for political telling?

In a dream this vendor was steaming sharks,
Teeth and fins, these delicate parts;
The children ate and sang in the park,
His menu made from pictographs.

I told you before of men who defraud
In times of crisis at home and abroad,
This world is not what they purport;
Which governments would Gods of Goodness support?

Downstream I heard he was arrested,
Moustachioed vendor van-grease vested;
The parents with placards well protested,
But the shark-forests died, left unprotected.

Tuesday Morning Crime Scene

The detective pulled at his moustache,
Combing at the edge;
Subconscious stroking by a man
Who’s well-versed with the dead.
‘He was thick-skinned’ he murmured
To his second in command,
As they stood and observed the body
In a far-flung foreign land.
‘Don’t let the press see this one,
Make sure the perimeter’s sealed’,
He surveyed the size of the task at hand
In a blazing Bushveld field.

The victim’s eyes were orange,
Killers fixed by a fiercer lozenge,
For in older times a nearby tribe
Mythologized in sketch and scribe,
Forever imprinted in their eyes
Death-dawning final sights of man,
The smiling black-backed jackal,
A clue imbued in iris tan.
His body distended, and how it straddled
Demarcations of the tide,
Where the water’s spate
In long-lost seasons paralyzed

By daguerreotype and high.
With mud the body semi-concealed,
Flies on his ears had gathered;
The smell of death would long repeal
All hopeful hearts, all fearful bladders.
Grey skin scaly, turned rust-like
In oxides from the almighty battle,
Ten miles from the last turnpike
Near where the river basin dried,
The townsfolk used to fly-fish here
For River Pipe, and Barbs, and Moggels.
The Goddess of Nature created tusks

Like golden threads in turrets spun,
Woven over millennia, but stolen over-night.
They examined a substance in the soil,
The detective and his partner;
Followed a scent like kerosene oil,
They gathered some musth in evidence bags;
Secretions beneath the sandstone altar
Had bubbled before in a temporin gland.
Sometimes he found it easier that way,
Remembering former glorious days
Running with elephant herds on safari,
He used to think that come what may

On roads from Durban to Harare
Justice would appropriate
Those hunters and their hubris.
He paused and heard the elephant’s call;
Still better that than the knock on the door,
A simple summon which always appalls,
These rituals people routinely endure,
To explain to a daughter, fatigued by man,
How her missing much-loved father
Was finally found on a Tuesday morning,
Sunshine-bled within April,
On a rock-ledge by the River Derwent.