Sunday, 24 April 2016

                        Poems for my mother 1923-2012  



                                      "Powerful and moving images. Strange                                                                 muscular pictures that nevertheless 
                                        tear so easily.”                                                                                          
                                                                       Kobus Moolman     

    Hiraeth /hɪəraɪ̯θ/ is a Welsh word that has no direct English
   translation. However, the University of Wales, Lampeter,
   attempts to define it as homesickness tinged with grief or
   sadness over the lost or departed.

Some poems have been published by Botsotso, The Blue Hour,
The New Binary Press Anthology of Poetry: Volume I and
Tipton Poetry Journal.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
including photocopying, without prior permission in
writing from the copyright owner.

                                       Cover image: 'Engel', etching by Jan Schindler.



Mine, Hers?
Visiting A Museum
Last Vehicle
My Mother Keeps Calling
I Can See You, Miscarriage!
She Is Not Dead
She Went On Her Knees
The Dawn
There Is An End To It
Thank You

Mine, Hers?

My mother is her hands.
She sits like Buddha and
plays with a few fingers,
looking at them. First

there were cobwebs
between her old fingers.
Now they are gone;
slowly she wakes up

inside me and starts to
open the cupboards and
becomes young again
as she lives between the

hairs of my eyelashes,
bending, what do I see,
or what does she see
through my eyes, hers?

Visiting A Museum

I see my mother
on the other side
of the window.

She is about thirty.
Five years before my birth.
She’s in a desert –

The heat must be unbearable.
There are sharp rocks,
spiders, lizards,

snakes, scorpions.
She is wearing
a bikini. Her skin

is full of blisters.
She ages full blast.
Then she explodes

as simple as
a soap bubble.
There is a rattle

and her bleached
bones fall to the

What is all this?
Someone tells me
it is closing time.

I walk towards
the exit, get my
coat and hat.

It is almost dark
and a drizzle spoils
the walk home.


My mother’s veined
hands are in her lap.

The left hand starts
rubbing the right hand.

The right hand that’s her.
The left brings it back

from the chilly foreshore
with its eager waves.

Last Vehicle

I sit here
and I don’t
know where.

My head collects
what not?
                                               I have become older.
There is so much
going on,
the remaining
previous generation.

is often
our last

My Mother Keeps Calling

I can’t peep
through the keyhole
to the other
eyes don’t work there.
With ink
below my skin,
words catching fire.
My flesh
keeps calling.
My eyes in
the sand.
Are we


Your worn hands.
They are covered
with big buds. They grow
through your skin.
They cover your face,
open and rot.

You are the body on the cross
above your bed.
There is no mercy.
It has to happen.

I am upside down,
like the apostles,
hanging on their crosses,
because I talk like you,
look a bit like you,
as they say.


(Holding me,
your miscarriage.)

The sky body warm,
body bone
being fed, day after month.

You almost lived,
a boy or a girl.
Almost. (Condemned.)

Almost, how?
One body more,

the air aside,
needing space.
God’s diamond said No.

 I Can See You, Miscarriage!  

I see a
headless -

Warm clothes,
(roaring meat hooks).

And he or she wants
to carry me,
be with me
all the time,
your roots between my toes.

I see no smile, no face.

And you?
In the world?

You want to carry me,
on a bumpy road.



O yes! Right at the end,
surrendering our eyes,
belonging to destruction.

Look at the stains
on your hands,
a tongue
licking your skin
from the inside.

Once in a starched bed
visitors will
give flowers.

Then they leave,
and after a few days
the flowers as well,
the stinking water,
a catheter bag
in the shape of a vase.

And this person in bed using
an Ipod nano, earplugs,
listens closely, like a doctor
to his stethoscope. Listens
to music and voices no
longer chained to time.

 She Is Not Dead

She is not dead, yet I can
see her nose turn white, her
mouth shrinking. Loss of
water and life, eyeballs
dates cut off from the stem,
her root closed, locked,
locked by muddy bone.

The destroyer invades,
a machine not thinking,
a dog ripping, tearing,
the snout convinced by
the silky tearing of skin.
The dog snaps and cracks
deeper, river emptied out.


Her illness is now and warm.
It litters on her face.
It roars and spreads

its kingdom blessed,
ruins, beckons her
outward, inwards.


The wet warm season gone,
now a bloody haven,
no blessing of light.

Still, you left your
cave painting behind,
a name in the dark.

Old mother moves
through the house.
Dust on the windowsill

ticks the days away,
covers the swarms of
decades fleeing.

              She Went On Her Knees

She went on her knees,
the coarse clothes,
not looking as people walked past,
on their way.

Sounds disappeared.
Are they going to dismember me?
Ax my neck?
Her anxiety flew through a man’s beard.

She became a speck of dust.
He would rub her out of his life.
O God. It is God, she said.
Was she alive or dead, in death, kneeling?

 The Dawn

Enter it.

A drowned person
straight into the mulch.

Do you see colours, images
behind your mouth,
out of reach? War,
a war of smoke,
a ghost of clouds
slowly out of sight,

Enter the liberty of
ragged verses like a beggar.
I can’t give nor take
anything away;
you are on the scaffold,
fulfilled in creation.


Wind and wind, dull wind lying
on a stone, close to the high chair
of king and father, sweat like
pearls breathing into far fields.
The sky sings like a dog,
shivering beneath its bony skin.

A daze of thoughts takes my arm
to a car full of remorse, just a few
words float to the surface as
the world begins to move through
the black wooden gate of damnation.

 There Is An End To It

The dog has run
his paws away,
now standing
on bone and brick
in the purple sun.
The rain has lost its majesty.
I have seen it
with my own eyes.
I have seen you breathe,
then the splinter
piercing my jelly eye.
It is the way
of the world
they say.


Yes well we are distant now,
the past like a darkening wall
between us, an illness. I
touch the bricks with my fingers,
break my nails as I try to
scratch the cement, grey, bitter,
can’t focus any longer.

Her images are coming
out of my chest, projected
on the wall like good old slides,
the images seem to be soft,
soft toys,  a cushion with
her photo on it. A star.

 Thank You

Yes she died, dead,
when I put her ashes,
her dust, true kiss,
into the ground,

No matter,
because a mouse
dies and who
are we, writers,

painters, police man,
baker, pizza maker?
They put ashes into our hands.
Thank you.