Redtails

This weeks poem inspired by a recent visit to a lovely forest lodge near Mabamba swamp, where the forest was alive with many birds, animals and insects, including gorgeous Redtailed monkeys.

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Redtails

 

Chirps, croaks, twig cracks and rustling

Deepen forest quiet

Above leap monkey silhouettes

Bright, red tails catch the light

 

Among tight-packed green foliage

Black shining eyes inquire,

White heart-shaped noses wrinkle

Curved, red tails sweetly bait

 

Along thin dipping branches

Fruit tempt, just out of reach

Dark fingers stretch for treasures

Strong, red tails anchor weight

 

Tiny forms cling closely

Bright faces cheek to cheek

Below broad, forking branches

Long, red tails intertwine   

 

 

Near Mabamba Swamp

2017

 

 

 

 

Storbæltsbro

This week’s poem is inspired by the longest of the many Danish bridges that bind the country together, and which starts in the lovely town of Nyborg.

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Storbæltsbro

 

Bridge

over still waters,

soft glowing sunrise in yellow stained mist.

 

Concrete, cables, tar; 

sturdy, solid, sleek.

Cars glinting past,

Rumble of rolling rubber.

 

Plump seagulls glide soundless alongside,

Likewise suspended

In space.

 

Storbæltsbroen, 2017

 

 

Now

This week’s poem, written a few months ago, shortly after returning to Uganda. Inspired by the immediacy of life in a place where life is beautiful, raw but also hard. In a place where many people have lost and suffered much.

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Now

 

Prickle of sun on my shoulders,

Moisture waking under warm skin,

Ache in a thigh muscle.

I am this thirst and tread

Along warm tarmac.

 

Past, a reinterpreted moonscape,

Future, a land too foreign to catch my interest

Love, an echo of instinct

Without logic,

An emptiness nature abhors.

 

Heat is real: sweet, warm and wet,

Now is this moment.

Here is who I am

 

Arua 2017

New Year

This week’s poem, thoughts on looking back at the year just passed, and allowing yourself the freedom to interpret events in the light of passing time.

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New Year

 

It’s a new year,

Twenty-seventeen drifting off into the stratosphere,

Not quite gone, memories press on,

You’re allowed to edit if your aim is sincere

 

It’s a new year,

Some things best forgotten, others brought into the clear.

My past is my own, timbre and tone,

Processed from left or right hemisphere.

 

It’s a new year,

Time to wake up love and peace, ditch cynicism and fear,

Remember solutions, repeat resolutions,

Trust that hope runs eternal, if you just persevere.

 

Kampala, 2018

Not Yet Over

This weeks poem… as time passes in heals. Things change, life goes on even when you think it can not. But healing takes the time it takes, not the time you allocate.

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Not yet over

 

You can’t get past what’s not over,

You can’t heal a still bleeding wound,

Can’t wash dust off your feet

When you still tread the path.

 

Let time do what it does

Cry your tears, toss your turns

Rub the salt,

Let it burn.

Can’t leave behind what’s inside you.

 

 

Kampala 2017

 

 

Grounded

This week’s poem, written this morning about yesterday. It must speak for itself. It is still too raw to be spoken for.

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Grounded

 

‘You’re not grounded’, softly said.

Pats my naked foot.

 

Soft probing fingers pressed

Every aching tissue

Every clenched muscle

Stirred every blocked synapse and gland.

 

Soft words, touch. Trigger

Tingling and aching floods from cells

Toes, finger tips, marrow,

Overwhelms the too small place in my tear ducts,

My nasal cavity. Head throbs,

Tears flood and trickle from the hollows of my eyes

 

But politeness prevails,

Unshed tears

Unsaid words

Un-howled pain.

 

I wipe the ruined mascara,

Sip cool water, put shoes on bare feet.

Breathe, but not too deeply,

Step, but not too firmly.

 

Boiling Lava and brooding volcanoes are the earth.

I am not grounded.

 

Kampala 2017

Today for Zimbabwe

This week”s poem inspired by events unfolding in Zimbabwe, and the cheerful marchers filling the streets of Harare with determined hope today…. whatever the future may bring.

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Today for Zimbabwe

 

People so hungry for hope

They wave this flag without caution.

They will not wait,

They take their hope today

 

Today, shed their tears of joy

Today, dare to believe.

Today hope runs laughing through Harare

Weeping with joy in Bulawayo.

 

Today, speak without fear

Today, speak for yourself

The People are all tribes, all colors, today,

Soldiers and citizens, young and old.

 

Grace in disgrace,

Bob no longer your uncle.

Let tomorrow bring what it will,

Today is a day for Zimbabwe.

 

18 November 2019, Kampala

 

Mount Elgon

This week’s poem inspired by a day on Mt Elgon, in the East of Uganda, together with a big group of my new colleagues. A day of sun and rain, trekking and driving, getting close to each other and an amazing mountain.

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Mt Elgon

 

From her broad shoulders to her weepy falls

Mt Elgon offers her view of the world,

Far stretching plains below,

Inside the crystal heart of an old volcano.

 

We scramble ant-like up her slopes,

Echoing our laughter in caves

Behind water curtains.

Thundering mist hides quick rolling clouds.

 

Slipping down trickling paths

Sudden rain offers risky water slides.

Blurry green dotted with pink flowers,

Banana leaf shelters and red coffee beans.

 

Cheered up-slope by morning sunshine

And clear views, she plays us sudden

Cloud tricks,

Wind whips,

Mud slips,

In an endlessly unpredictable drama

 

Drenched and mud-splattered

We return to the town below.

At sunset we admire her sparkling jewels,

Her shapely form, from a respectful distance.

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Mbale, Uganda, 2017

 

 

A Question Of Strength

This week’s poem – musings on whether what doesn’t kill us really does make us grow strong…. or if it just nearly kills us.

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A Question of Strength 

 

Will we be stronger at the end?

Whenever, whatever that is.

Will we be seasoned and toughened and cool?

Or perhaps just a shadow of our former selves?

 

Will we gain understanding, sympathy

Thoughtfulness, from the stones on our path?

Or just bloodied, broken toenails

And a tendency to arthritis as we grow old?

 

Kampala 2017

African Woman

This week’s poem, which is really last week’s, but I could not post because of weak network where I was in the north of Uganda, is inspired by the experience of being back here after over 7 years away in Asia and Europe.

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African Woman

 

Flinging anchor and line

The scene of the crime

I’ve returned to where it all started 

 

I’ve tossed to the wind

The sense of my skin

I find it no longer suffices

 

Green depth and red heat

Gold warmth and black beat

Sweet virtues and soft whispering vices

 

I’ve fought through my fight

I’m claiming the right

To be an African woman

 

Arua 2017