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Elna Nel

Fathers and sons (1)

let it be purple my son
so as not to show
the blue or the green
side of nowhere
let it be purple this day
so as to bear ‘n hide in care
what it has not done to you
and what has left you cripple

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Day for you (3)

may the grey arms of the morn'
turn into life for a day
may silver meet you just there
where your chest is hollow bare
feeling like a ladder on a stair
sturdy ladder legs standing stronger
on the grey arms of early morning
silver legs staring seeing
seven doves' innocent love
in grey arms of the dawning

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My sister sorrow

that my tears would bring
healing to you
on the morning's brow
hanging on fragile
but steely
ropes of hope

and I will cry for you
till your night
is fully soaked
so let me fall down
in your darkness
let me share
your hours of salt
and water your
sister sorrow

for leprous moments
your pain I borrow
float with me

[...] Read more

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The other side of rough (1)

the trial of an officer
is it old or is it new
for everything dear like dew
on the petals of stems
clings here in africa

waiting for a time
when gentler
fingers will touch
this man's brows
in the absence of anger

and winter's chill
becomes a shadow
a rumour of a memory
something which never
took place in africa

what made him man
and who paid him

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Encumbered

speak in a tin jar
make sounds dine
in plopping cool
water drops fine
and guitar's echo of the ear
roll into thirsty souls
the bronze that I hear
a sound like cool
little liquid bridges
in a pool

a pile
of priests
meet
in a world at war
calling strong rivers
from afar
four
strumming the strings
of the brown guitar

[...] Read more

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Quiver Tree

I found loneliness
in winter's aloe sun
reaching and listening
to the beat of the bark
with arms like brittle
arrows and purple
beams of light
like never before
behind a quiver tree

like voices
blowing free
through this lonely
tree's bursting bark
and blowing over some
of the many roads
of my brown mind
it will not show
its wounds to me

[...] Read more

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Framing a spurt of Spring

the day is baroque
with daisies' faces
lifted to the sun
my feet lift and knock
on spring's lenient ground
where tortoises' dance
lead them to drink from proud
prickly pear's leaf
and rocks are small
under the yellow rays
of the round clock
the slow spring day
is ticking and saying

the day is baroque
and colour licks
an orange shock
for autumn's mind
left summer behind
in green thorny itch

[...] Read more

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Night's Eye

on cushioned paws
what have you done
in the night
after miles of hunting
piles of lives
backsliding
into darkness
colourless
with no sense of time
or feel
a tetra-minded being
moving stealthily
clouding minds
in the shelter
of the night
are you in a man
spewing curses
where there
is no light
paralyzing bodies

[...] Read more

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An insect's insight

on the wings of a cold
Winter's wind
en route of
the dragon-fly's flight

she was caught dreaming
in the mistiness of inexperience
like a stray insect
roaming slowly

on her slipshod
shuffle in the air
above muddy waters
and clear little inlets

and if innocence
is beautiful
innocence is vulnerable
on two thin wings

[...] Read more

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The Blame Beyond Reason

beyond reason the damage
done to the southern white
sensed as the nervous sky
keeps breathing in and out
like an elephant rumbling
it's last song before sunset

a cold cold august wind
rhinoceros are slaughtered
women are being attacked
watching is the nervous sky
and held by angels and let go
is the cold cold august wind

wherein assaults are crafted
where kwagga once walked
minds are defined by night
and trauma refining us
men who once as children
talked and trumpled streets

[...] Read more

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