Blog/Coming Clean

Contemplating Divorce

Contemplating Divorce

The Woman-who-thought-she-could-write
realised (with her morning tea), on March eighth,
that she had been misled.
She looked at Language snoring beside her,
his lascivious tongue flickering kisses…

and wondered what she’d ever seen in him.

In the early days he was lithe and spare:
Lean as a leaf that could cut a thumb;
moist as an eye in a crucifixion.
The traps he sprung watered cheeks with pearls…
Laughter bubbled unforced.

His seduction had shaved pencils;
spearing dark dreams like bats fleeing light.
Now he sulked, demanded home cooking…
Cracking bones, complaining…
at a desk-top boiling all day.

How had insinuation slithered
(Persuading the Word to ape God?)
between the smooth sheets of a welcome.
The coral brained dish of endeavour
turning black with nicotine.

The Egyptians were content with an alphabet;
awaiting Napoleon, planning parchment or paper?
It was no big deal, sand would suffice.
Millennia passed…
chipping stone, slurping beer.

Talk alone managed to trade and to travel…
The river flooded without self-assembly instructions…
Pyramids made their point, and were proved non-combustible.
Who is Posterity?
What is the fuss?

Her garlanded Bacchus had grown obese
snorting lines of attention;
sweating metaphors sweet,
astride his tortoise, bibulous, self-serving,
as flaccid as the spittle sliding

African Largesse

 African Largesse

The galleon of grandmamma billowed through doorways
leaving no wind but the scent of cologne.
Her horn-handled stick communed with the floor
like the serpent with Eve, both bent upon
a domestic secret service.

The boiler house alive; steam and invective,
stammering lids, riddled coals…wither
the larder sent knaves to forlorn persecution;
speared with clove, smeared with brown sugar,
basted under prodding inquisition…

The flaying of oranges, the shelling of nuts…
(Hourly conscripts, the aproned maids
gossiping in the sun on the stoep of escape).
The trussing of fowl, the knotting of pressed tongue
gilded the hours of her kingdom kitchen.

Wafted seasonal juniper, caraway, mulling of wine…
Sounding drums of enamel, the harp of shattered glass…
Courtiers of dishes medalled in silver…
Embroidered with parsley, tickling a piglet,
its jaws impaled on original sin.

She presided in pearls, with sardonic self-mockery
Smothered each dish with a sauce of jellied laughter…
And her imperious injunction
‘So eat’

Horse and Boy- The Derby and Camelot.

Was there ever a more appropriate name for the winner of this particular season’s Derby, but Camelot? Was there ever a boy more in tune with his mount? From the moment he was lifted to the saddle Joseph O’Brien quietly took command of the race before it had begun, directing Camelot to the far rails, away from distractions, like any keyed up athlete, needing calm concentration. Watching his controlled canter to the start, one knew this was a master at work, deeply sensitive to the moment, and the needs of his superlative horse. It reduced me to tears.

The romance of horse-racing lies in many things, the poetic pictures of Degas, the traditions of the colours, and the co-ordination of stable boys, grooms, trainers and jockeys, but ultimately it is the celebration of the horse. The superlative aristocracy and beauty of the animal, that challenges all our human sense of superiority, by something aesthetic, intelligent, alive and peerless is what holds mankind in thrall, and so it should. No greater tribute to the Queen’s greatest love will be given for all the razzmatazz. That race will live with me forever, and that boy’s gentle modesty.

Photo reproduced under Creative Commons Licence

Mother’s Hood

    Mother’s Hood

I shall be leaving shortly,
elbowed out by the bend in a year.
While my full-tilt daughters that have learned to run
still bloody their knees on the stones of men.

They dream dreams that resemble my own, forlorn
in the nettles of credit, the dock of the bell…
Dropping the tails of bright lizards that flick
beneath the spines of seductive books.

My roses fell soft without cutting or choice…
Four daughters were hardier wilder sports:
Grafted on plans they draft divorce, with thyme for reading,
lavenders of children (discarded by storks)

How old, how shrunken this wizened age
that measures the girth of an unlived year.
I try to forget the dimensions of births,
untrammelled by visions opaque or clear.

Their passions are pruned; mine rampant yet
the hour-glass trickles sterile thin sand.
Their visions and mine no longer discern
whose pillow they water; whose shoulder they turn.

Before my mouth is stopped with clay
and cold ice glazes the lucid eye…
Will dreams gush forth from the trickling throat
and pith crack clean from the collar wish-bone?

The Amphitheatre




Many people have asked about the photograph in the Header. This was taken in early morning in 2000, and it is of the spectacular Amphitheatre in the northern Drakensberg not far from my family’s farm in the Freestate (where I was born). This cliff face is three times the size of all the cliff faces in the Yosemite Park, rising 10.000 feet above sea level and 4000 above the base. The buttress on the left is called the Mont aux Sources since it gives rise to many rivers, notably the Tugela, flowing east, but also via its tributary (The Caledon) to the Orange flowing west, and via the Elands to the Vaal flowing North. It stands sentinel as the very navel of the country and its arteries. The walk up the Tugela towards the summit is through narrow passes overshadowed by trees and calling monkeys, and ever the bubbling water…

As a child I rode through this country in my holidays with saddlebags, picnics and plunging in cold pools. Its call is everlastingBroekie lace added, and gets stronger now I know I shall never seeYou can almost taste the lightning! it again.

GNU Free Documentation Licence PhilipN Version 1.2Taken by Rudolph Botha 2006

The London Book Fair opens its doors to Authors

Authors Exist!.

In 2007 I first visited the London Book Fair, in the hope of buttonholing an agent/publisher/interested party, and after trailing down alleyways of stallholders, all intently interviewing and avoiding catching eyes of anyone without an appointment, realized that the LBF was not a place where authors were recognized as relevant to anything. I had a self published book on a shelf in the nether reaches of the indie publishing section tucked as far from sight as possible, upstairs in an isolated desert, where the custodians picked their teeth and exchanged opportunities for a coffee or a smoke. I vowed never again.

This year was very different.

Some self publishing subsidy publishers had made it into the big-time hall and the world of digital, marketing, self publishing had commandeered Earls Court2 alongside the thrusting Chinese theme. All seminars seemed geared to the new world. Was I alone in imagining a cold shiver, a glacial denial in the ranks of traditional publishing?  They seemed to have their backs to the prevailing wind. Some had clustered together under group umbrellas, the Mind Body Spirit section looked hopeful of survival, the Small Independents seemed huddled for mutual support, and authors now walked with more confidence. Authors had invaded, and authors were catered for. Two publishers actually accepted a manuscript, and promised to read it. Way hey!

Nobody said it was going to be easy; but the tide has turned, undoubtedly.

Kicking Off the Collection

This category is offered in the hope that readers will post incidences of co-incidences. Over time they may collectively reveal that consciousness works in the physical world,  integrated with the human mind. I shall kick start with one of the most recent, and one of the most startling. Although I have written a whole book about consciousness this event  was quite extraordinary.

On another site will be found the book, which hopes to show that the science of the Western World is a recovery of memory; with the most seminal moments being those of inspiration, the point at which the conscious mind encountered the essential link needed for the next breakthrough in understanding.( There are excerpts of the book posted, and readings of about three minutes..)

This work ends with a soliloquy of the double ‘serpent’ of DNA where all memory is stored. I had been working for three years on this poetic history of science, and on the final stretch of the writing had revisited Bertrand Russell’s  ‘The History of Western Philosophy’ simply to check a point I remembered reading about Pythagoras. It was what I remembered and I realised I had finished my book, sooner than I had expected.

As I put Russell’s book aside, my husband called out to say that a neighbour’s Jack Russell had appeared ( he occasionally visits us and usually needs a ride home). I went out into the courtyard and as I did the dog dived into a narrow flower bed and threw out a snake, a grass snake about two feet long. (In the thirty years we have lived here we have never ever seen a snake in the garden) To stop the Jack Russell from killing the snake I lifted him up, and took him indoors; then I returned to lever the snake onto a spade and dispose of it in our wild pond. It was injured but not critically. I then let the dog out again. Immediately he dived back into the same spot and threw out an identical snake, a second one. The double serpent of DNA had been delivered by a Russell!

Review of Gaia’s Children by Paul Kieniewicz

Since the author of this work, Paul Kieniewicz, writes such excellent reviews of the work of others it is daunting to do his work justice without giving too much away. This is a deeply philosophical work but the philosophy is worn very lightly, and well camouflaged within a plot that wholly engages on its own terms.

It would be tempting for the genre fundis* to call this science fiction, but as this work itself reveals what was fiction once is fiction no longer. An imaginative genetic interspecies is now plausible, given the recent announcement of the hubris of science to construct its own variations on what evolution has painstakingly refined over millennia. The world of ‘synthetic genetics’ is already upon us, with inbuilt self-destruct genes in case things go badly wrong. Which goes to show that irresponsibility is now tossed off with ‘we’ve made provision for our possible thoughtlessness, calm down dear…’

Continue reading “Review of Gaia’s Children by Paul Kieniewicz”


November… Bravo.

Riddle:- What have the death of a quantum physicist and the sudden withdrawal of an offer to publish a book on the same day got to do with each other?

Welcome to Synchronicity!

Before I answer the riddle I’ll welcome you to this new Blogsite, where I hope to make friends. I badly need friends. In the last week I have found such warm friendship from the Indie Publishing Blogosphere so an ill wind has driven me to wade forth into this foreign world. For an old person (well not that old) it’s a great adventure; the virtual world of virtual friends. It could be the phoenix from the ashes of hope, because that offer to publish had come after forty years of trying to find a publisher who believed that readers were more interested and interesting than Tesco said they were. I was going to die happy, my mission achieved.

Anyway he pulled the offer when I realized the contract forbade me to publish anything myself, and he said he had no intention of an ebook. He wouldn’t and I couldn’t. So now I shall get around to it myself. The riddle of the timing is what the whole book is about. Synchronicity; the Collective consciousness, and although the connections between the two meet only in my mind, they have driven me to talk to y’all…so there you have it, the rings that spreads from the dropping of a stone, outwards, connecting everything to everything.

So connections!

First I’ll tell you about the quantum physicist whose death was reported in the Times’ Obituaries yesterday, just after I got the brush off from the publisher. I only met Ted Bastin once. It was because of the theory that led to the book, the Theory of Involution. So the book connects the two.

Continue reading “Synchronicity!”