i had not meant to
flush diederik cuckoo from
the mulberry tree, first light

just bird called a song
i had not heard close
and loud before.

but he came emerald wings
flashing in early sun
landed bright close
on the blossom peach
looked at me
each as startled as the other

mid october when you bite
into first peach of the season
(even when it is not from your tree
because the early fruiters are not
established enough to fruit early
or consistently) but first of the season
here never the less
and sweet summer swims your tongue
and you lift your face
to the bluest of october skies
and know that all of it lives and dies
and lives again and yet still, here you are
leaning on the door frame
eating a ripe peach in the sun.

going south west
between here and the city
you drive the bread basket of the country
hours of soft hills and gentle flats
planted hundreds of kilometres
to wheat and canola and maize –
soil cleansed, left bare to that bright blue sky
between harvest and planting
wind squalls and big rains bleeding silt
into small seam creeks that might have lived.

this is how we feed ourselves
all of us. this is what the world looks like
when put all our metaphorical eggs
in just one basket.
there never can be any resilience
in a monoculture.
just pesticides and prayer
a precarious place to be
in a changeable world

brown watersnake rests
in the pond at the door
its body sinuous as waterlily stems
in the dapple leaf light
barely keeping nostril and eye
above water, it waits and
warms in the underwater sun
and i wonder what it is
to live so cool that warmth
is light through leaf through water.

along the catchment of a small tributary
of the touw, neighbours have gathered
to clear wattle from deep valleys
years of work to restore what we let slide

wattle was introduced
to the cape colony in 1871
to bolster its burgeoning industry.
a beautiful tree with useful tannins,
it was given a warm welcome –
what we did not know,
could not know
was fertile soil was waiting for
seed carried in a pocket, in a gut,
down a river – and with neither pest
nor parasite to halt its growth
the wattle grew faster and thirstier
than this soil had ever known before –
crowding out forest and fynbos
in its quiet green colonisation
until mountain side and deep valley alike
sighed its blue green monoculture –
drying riverbeds tinder
in the eye of the flame.

seems without our soil to remind us
we are no more than our thirst
growing rampant unchecked.

slow evenings
feeding goats in the almost dark,
stars nestle new leaf
amongst the pecan branches
first one, then another
then another
until the night
teems and throbs
with the living.

the problem with monoculture
is that there is no resilience
without diversity.
all across the world
we have embraced
this western capitalism –
merged markets, expanded globally

we have sold our gods and trees
for tourist dollars and thneeds
and here we are on our knees
on the crumbling steps
of the temples of
bigger better more

we have stuffed our pockets
and our faces overfull
until too slow to move
too slow to think
too slow
to hear or see or feel
we watch our own collapse
swipe to a new screen
watch our own collapse

and what if
on a day like any other
phone alarm school bus email
what if we planted seeds
with the full of the moon
danced barefoot
on earth paths new made
smeared mud on our faces
laughing with arms open to the sky.
what if we rose with the moon.

what if we didn’t.

For Brendan at earthweal’s weekly challenge: A BIODIVERSE POETRY


12 thoughts on “oneness

  1. Gorgeously alive with local color – what a blessing to sense springtime becoming abundance at this moment when up the hemisphere all shortens & dims — a largesse here, in the culture of the diverse. The shadow of monoculture though is never far and is so efficiently sterile. I fear future generation will look back on this moment as when we evicted ourselves from Eden. What if we don’t rise with the moon and remember how to plant by it? Thanks so Lindi –

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So well done – the juxtaposition of images from the natural world with fears about our disregard for it:

    ‘just pesticides and prayer
    a precarious place to be
    in a changeable world’

    – I don’t know how more people don’t see it. I guess we just keep swiping.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ingrid. I think people see it – I think a lot of our daily actions are us trying to unsee it, because it is so big and all encompassing that we don’t know where or how to start with right action. Maybe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know.”

        — John Heywood
        I think this quote comes from 1548(?) or something like that. Seems we have been choosing not to see for a while.

        Liked by 1 person

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