We walked in groups in the sprawling forest that clung to the foot of the mountain. Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and neighbours gathered for the hike, trampling over pine needles and tripping over knotted roots. Animals squirreled out of sight and up into higher branches to give way to the invading human swarm that was us. We picked pine cones from the musty ground and plucked out the nuts. Tasting sweet and tangy on our childish tongues. Grown ups carried baskets full of baked chicken, corn on the cob, green salads and garlicky bread. We stopped to eat at the stream that bubbled and whistled over pebbles and crawling roots.
Summer’s sun winked
through tree tops.
Smiles and chatter.
We were all together.
I remember a massive community hike in what I think was the Newlands forest in Cape Town, when I was about seven or eight if not younger. The hike ended in a picnic. I remember it as one of the most spontaneous and memorable occasions of my life, as it was a spur of the moment thing for me. I suppose that is what life seems like for kids who are unaware of the plans adults make and find themselves in surprising situations.
In my memory, I clearly remember a lot of pine trees and pine cones. They are not indigenous trees. Settlers to the region created pine plantations that still form a large part of the forest.
The featured image shows what the indigenous forest looks like, more lush and tropical-looking.
Shared with dVerse for their haibun Picnic prompt.
I’m just about getting this in before the link closes!
Written for dVerse Poets Pub open link night. I missed the chance to post on Amaya’s Cascade challenge earlier this week so getting a two in one. It’s not in the exact form, but learned a lot in the process!
Images from hideawayreport.com (1) and wildfoottravel.com (2)
of my army, working the oars through the black water
towards a destination far beyond
what we could see.
Inspired by the very real historical Viking Warrior, who was first assumed to be male upon excavation in 1878. (And also inspired by a song with the same refrain). Due to the remains being buried with an arsenal of weapons and a game set, used in strategic thinking, it was clear that it was a warrior’s tomb.
It took more than a hundred years later for someone to examine the bones and confirm that the lack of Y-chromosomes indicates the remains were female. This caused much controversy. But the evidence speaks for itself, and the myth of the female Viking warrior became fact.
The artifacts in the tomb indicated she was a high ranking warrior. My poem tries to capture life through the eyes of this dead warrior, in the Viking village of Birka.
Geography plays a major role in the activities and organisation of a community. In this case, Birka (located in Sweden) was a major trading post between Northern Europe and the rest of the world.
Anthropological and historical studies show that much of what the modern world perceives as uniquely masculine or feminine gets debunked by findings such as these. Where medieval and sometimes ancient customs do not have the same roles and customs assigned to specific genders as we do today.
When your caged heart was free and lived with gusto.
With the Pen in your grasp
Switch genres, change the title and unclasp
the yoke around your neck.
Write one word, then never look back.
In my google search, it turns out a quadrille is also a dance.
I was not familiar with the use of the verb ‘spike’ as in rejecting something. Usually used in publishing where a manuscript is considered and then rejected and put on the spike. So I thought I’d use it in my attempt at a quadrille.
This was nothing short of a mental crossfit workout… Hope you enjoy it.
Summer rages on his deathbed, fighting off the change in atmospheric pressure. Minute turns of an invisible weather dial, the sun beats mercilessly down on dust, tar, bricks and sweating scalps. Children delight in a deceivingly endless warmth, only the old feel the new chill in the breeze. Winter arrives unannounced, freezing the greenery till they drop to the ground, brown upon brown.
This is my first attempt ever at a haibun. Very challenging, but rewarding too.
March is blazingly hot here in Botswana. But it is the month when it starts to shift into Winter. And so, it feels as if Summer is turning up the heat in defiance of the coming season. (So very Dylan Thomas) We hardly have an Autumn or Spring to speak of. Literally one day it is Summer, the next thing it is 3 degrees celsius at night.
I look forward to your feedback, so I can learn and improve my poetic craft.
I turned to God to escape you.
To cure what I perceived was an illness of my heart
And in that turning to God
I saw your name
Surrounded by praises of His name
In a faithful song of fate and destiny
And what I thought was an escape,
Became an exit from a door of my mind
Into a spiritual realm of my heart,
And His heart
Deeply entangled with you.
The three of us entwined in a heartaching love
So painful that I broke.
And continue to break
In waves of pain and joy
Causing me to question who am I
And where do I truly belong
I kept company with Rumi, Shams and Al-Ghazzali
But still it brought me back to you
Just like Shams heard Rumi’s name,
So I saw your name attached to His.
Shams understood and followed
Whereas I followed but do not understand
All I know is I am forever changed
Stripped bare to my soul
And all I see is this longing for you
That is entwined with Him
There is no escape
For if I turn to God in utterance of faith
I see you too
Based on stories of divine love popularised by Rumi and Shams. And the lesser known legend of Zulaikha, the King’s wife, who fell hopelessly in love with the Prophet Yusuf. The legend has it that her love for Yusuf led her to a more divine love for God. And that her love for Yusuf was a veil that hid the divine love