bundling brushwood for the fire

my words are few
under this greying sky,
wind tossing the trees
among clouds that smell of rain
while the goats stand by,
watching in a reverent silence
punctuated only by the drag of branch,
snap of twigs.

i had cut back the brambles yesterday –
cool under a distant blue sky,
picked my way
through the snagging thorns
hands careful as a bushbuck
in crack dry undergrowth.
clipping and pulling out
the jagged canes of new growth
that were closing the path,
revealing strangled branches
of anisodontea and leonotis beneath.

today – late afternoon
i gather the brushwood.
my hands snapping and
folding the small branches
into bundles of startwood
by muscle memory,
of lives and lives lived
on forests’ edge –
measuring the brush,
knowing strength of hand and stick,
gripping and folding
and snapping and folding again,
until days worth of bundles
rest on my hip as
i make my way home.

autumn has come,
the fires are lit.

 

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autumn equinox 2020: it is all about the balance.

i have parked my car
and hung up my keys,
stood a while at the gate
listening for the silence
of settling dust –
there is so much to be done now
that starts with undoing,
but for now we wait
for the growing moon
to plant our seeds
in new turned earth.

 

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ancestral obligations

for now
birds still sing
the evening,
while somewhere in the house
there is ukulele and talk,
and the steady knife to board
rhythm of chopping vegetables

(but out there –
out there the streets have turned to silence,
there is pause and breath and wait –
and all the sanitiser in the world
is not going to wash our hands
of this, because we knew
and we knew
there was bound to be a reckoning)

and it all
always happens
in the kitchen,
the eating of the earth
and the stories
that taste of soil,
where the door
has been left ajar
showing the shadowy stairs
to the underworld
where the old myths
have been keeping pace with us
all along – black dogs with pink tongues
lolloping beside us
for thousands of years,
waiting for this silence
and our courage
to accept the task.