Winter Wonderings


Saturday Centus #162

The prompt this week:   “If a June night could talk…”
Number of words:  106 total (including the six words of the prompt)
Style of writing: Any

 

Rain  has splattered our windows noisily all day. As night settles and the rain rattles on, the hissing and slight crackle of our log fire keep pace, testifying that like most June nights, it is indeed a cold, wet night in Cape Town.

If a June night could talk, it is not likely our story – of warmth and wi-fi, hearth and home –  that it would tell.  Why would it? There is no news or horror in the mundane middle-class comforts we enjoy.  Except perhaps, that warm and dry ,we spare no thought for the wet beggar, huddled under the bridge,  her stale dry bread now soggy.

homeless

jennysidebar_button_SAT-2

The Beggar


The Beggar is God’s friend

And when the beggar knocks
Beware:
The one who scoffs
at those in great despair
Will find God’s wrath
Descend upon their path
Wreaking great havoc
Where they once lay
In sleep
As if
In Peace.

For Peace is love and harmony
Kindness and generosity
Not merely in the things we see
But in our hearts
Our minds and
Our humanity.

Can sleep bring Peace
When rights are wronged?
Can Peace be real
When vice is strong?
Can good men sleep
When harm is done –
By their own acts or
Inaction?

Not all beggars appear in rags
Not all are destitute, filling bags
Wives too can beg
For love that’s lost,

For some sign that

They’re not just ghosts
Of past selves
Sold to servitude
Or trapped in timeless platitudes.
They beg for love that they have spent
With passion and servility.
They beg for compassion and dignity
For reinstatement
Of their humanity.

How God must rage at
The audacity
Of men who sleep
Through their calamity.

And still…
Wives pray for God’s Mercy
To reign over their Family.

Revealing the Mask:
I wrote this poem a while ago after visiting the Saartjie Baartman Center for Abused Women in Cape Town, South Africa. I had taken my students on a visit there after discussions on Saartjie Baartman’s story. Aside from gaining an insight into how women in general (and African women in particular) have been viewed historically, they were also keen to get a sense of the havens available to women in abusive relationships today.

It was a somber and moving visit. I went away pondering what the social worker had shared: The women sheltered at the center often had no other options for safety. Despite some coming from comfortable middle class families, most of the women’s  relatives were often detached from the reality of the abuse they faced. Perhaps this is connected to the stigma and perceived humiliation that women fear exposing themselves to by sharing fully the extent of their abuse. Perhaps it is symptomatic of the desensitized society we live in. It was also tragic to note how great a percentage of women sought the sanctuary of the center secretly when their husbands had fallen asleep or gone off to work, how very few would press charges and how many would call those same husbands to fetch them and briskly take them home.

I realise that this behaviour is tied up in the complex psychology of abuse victims, but can’t help believing that despite their own miserable circumstance, women’s inherent protective instinct over those they love is unshakable. I returned home frustrated and saddened  not only by the unchanging history, but by the present reality for far too many women begging to be safe and loved, and the complacency of our society on the matter.

 

Written for prompts from Three Word Wednesday and We Write Poems

Aging with Grace


This post was inspired by my first participation in Saturday Centus (although it’s Sunday- please forgive!) another writer’s prompt site. I must admit that it is a whole new discipline to keep to the limit of 100 word plus this week’s  prompt phrase “How beautifully Leaves grow Old”. I was constantly aware of my reliance on rhythm and needing to balance that with word count makes for a whole new question of diction. I enjoyed the challenge and am disappointed that I didn’t push hard enough to find an “out of the box” take on the prompt. Still, I look forward to trying new ideas as I explore the various prompts online for writers working to develop skill.  Thanks, Jenny Matlock, for keeping this going!

How beautifully leaves grow old:

 

They start off soft and bright and green,

working hard to keep air clean

and feed the parent tree.

They age with speed

but feel no need

to slow the work of time.

They flit and bow

not questioning how

to withstand the wind and rain.

Gracefully, they face each storm

Happy to shelter birds, bees and worms.

And as they age

their skin does change

yet this does not upset them.

For when it is time to say good bye

They don’t hold back their beauty:

No, off they go

waving red, orange and gold-

fulfilling their natural duty.

my Words


My mother had

A different suffering,

an other strife

to mine.

Or was it just the same?

She had a lot she wanted to say,

She had thoughts to express,

But to her dismay

He didn’t want to hear.

He wouldn’t let her speak.

He found her logic weak.

At first she swallowed what she felt,

Choosing instead to soothe his fear

Of hearing her view

Or hearing who

She was.

That was best,

She thought.

She smiled her smile of victory.

She had conquered herself.

No need for self-expression here.

She’d be her self elsewhere.

Her words were neatly locked away,

She stored them for another day

that never came

it seems.

For when she tried to unpack them,

Or simply let him see she did have some,

He raged against her audacity.

Rage back!

I always cried

To myself.

Speak!

Be

Who you are!

You are your thoughts,

Your words are you.

Without them

How does your heart express its depth?

Or your mind reflect its brilliance?

Despite your dazzling smile,

How do you shine without your words?

How do you live or breathe?

So I have been my word.

My words have been

My breath that feeds

My mind, my heart, my Life.

Thirsty,

I drink words of every sound,

From people or books that I have found

Fascinating;

and pour them into

Every ear I pass.

My words, their words

Kind words, good words,

Words that teach and words that heal

Or simply words that make you feel

Alive.

Words that open up my mind

Or stretch my open hand

Across the gulfs that

Only words can bridge…

Yet, with him

My words fail

To make their mark

They don’t ignite even a spark.

I’m absolutely free to be

But he’s completely bored with me.

When unresponsive to my pleas,

He lets me speak, ignoring me…

I’m left with other words.

Of Rage.

Words that harm, that hit and hurt,

that spill

my discontented heart,

And scorch the coldness they receive

And scatter my anger in the wind

hopelessly.

With all my words not yet spent

they continue to flame

still seeking vent

and spill

Now silently and wet

Onto pages of poetry

That  journal my insatiable

Expression.

Synthesis


Together

Stronger than before

Each confident and certain of the bond that binds us

Needing everything and nothing from the other.

A unit

Distance does not alter the function we perform.

Dependent and independent

Relying on each other’s strengths,

Compensating for each other’s weakness.

Complete

Separate and inseparable

Looking forward to being together

without expectation,

Without anxiety

Nothing hidden.

Bringing everything we are

And loving everything we find

Partners.

Trusting

In the layered light of our love,

In the comfort of the worn path behind,

In our own capacity to move beyond the obstacles

Thankful:

To Him for favouring us with Faith

To each other for weathering the storms

that brought us here

To ourselves for striving for what’s possible

Satisfied:

Brimming with contentment for what is

Savouring the gift we have

Right Now

The only moment of Life

Promised Poverty


“Corruption is a slow evil,”

I read tonight.

Leaders- indeed politicians- in their double speak

will say We have won,

we no longer live in the darkness of oppression:

we are a leading African nation,

a Democracy of prized freedoms

our economy stable, growing…

evidenced by their armored cars,

their private jets and multi-million mansions

on lush Pretoria hillsides.

 

Mere minions would dispute their claims

ripe with untruth,

stinking of exaggeration and greed

empty in the township daylight

What victory is this

outside my tin shack

with my hands outstreched

or reaching into rubbish heaps

to still my hunger,

find a treasure,

feed?

What dignity?

Lies lacerate my future

but line their swelling pockets

like malnourished bellies

bursting with disease

and rotten promises

In response to Three Word Wednesday’s prompts:

ripe, lacerate, dignity

 

 

Unharnessed Power


Oh undisciplined mind of scattered thought,
broken threads and un-
hinged trains
rattling on directionless tracks
that outrace the past

and trace the unlived future

How to bypass your frenetic pace
Harness your unlimited potential
Access your silently dormant power?

Only
Through mastery of the Soul
Stilling
The hunger for what is not
Quieting
The thirst for more
Letting in
What is
with new Thankfulness
and unbounded Generosity
A mind of calm
At Peace
Free

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