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A walk in the park
Some day when life’s edges unravel
go bravely without a backward glance
memories implode cascading in
aromas of apples and croissants
unmade beds siestas “Closed at Noon”
treasures once so carelessly exchanged
tucked into a beaded evening bag
for a stranger to rediscover
dust off at some future antiques fair
reminding passers-by that affairs
have a way of coming to an end
heaven forbid that steely scentless
state reserved for others less loving
one day when we part it will be a
good-book-waiting goodbye a walk in
the park where we’ll leave regret behind
like a roses on our favourite bench
Daily Prompt: Wicked Witch
Write about evil: how you understand it (or don’t), what you think it means, or a way it’s manifested, either in the world at large or in your life.
Sometimes her shadow falls on me, Witch Nyll, black beast of Eneri.
And then I fight to rid my mind of desperate thoughts of every kind,
the lonely, maimed, the lost, the sick, neglected, aged, dead or quick.
I mourn the past and fear the future, blind to goodness, fail to nurture
all my blessings, which abound, seeing only tragedy around.
She tries to keep me from my God, beating me with heaviest rod
that sadness ever could supply, and breaking down my will to try.
She takes all pleasure out of good, removes the taste from any food.
She drains the colour from the sky so that I see with jaundiced eye,
Knows how to keep me from my sleep, makes all I love look stale and cheap.
But worst of all she banishes hope, giving me a gallows rope
to end it all. “Why carry on? Once you are dead the pain is gone.”
That’s when I look her in the eye and say “Oh yes? Then tell me why
there’s purpose found in everything, the smallest flower, the tiniest wing.
Each little life means quite as much as galaxies seen through Hubble and such.
We’re not just washed up on life’s beach, but always, ever within reach
of being the best that we can be.” I push my boat back out to sea
upon a course that’s straight and true, for only God can pull me through.
Is there no common denominator to our lives
a jumble of random events
(held up at gunpoint or stung by wasps)
actors soldiering onward
stringing words together to make
a brief escape from reality
the curtains open and the leading lady is
her premature exit leaving us
helplessly mouthing meaningless nothings until
someone skips to a song
and we dance bravely on?
Recently my son got a birthday card showing a car tumbling off a cliff. The caption reads: “But it can’t be wrong. It’s guided by satellites.” More than once my husband has yelled “Throw it out the window!” after following our GPS Shirley’s directions to oblivion, despite his better judgement. (Shirley is no longer with us.) I can only imagine how much worse it would be bobbing about in inky darkness in a small boat. Come to think of it, the bigger the ship, the worse the situation. And we all know that accidents still happen, despite all the electronic navigation aids ships use today.
Don’t we all need a lighthouse of sorts? Some big, dependable, candy-coloured authority figure to beam hope through our gloom, if not carry us out of the burning building? Since Nelson Mandela’s been in hospital people have been wondering aloud what’s to become of our rainbow when he’s gone. Well he’s not gone. And what he’s given us is more than a rainbow – it’s a beacon, a lighthouse that even when unmanned must continue its work 24/7, diligently maintained and upgraded by the rest of us. We’re not all bad, despite our squabbles and mistakes and greed. I’ve got to believe the backroom boys are still doing the best they can, even when management messes up.
In the aftermath of the Connecticut school shooting, people have been sharing upbeat pictures on Facebook to communicate positive messages about humankind. We need reminding of the unconditional love and goodness that’s out there, otherwise we’ll stop maintaining the lifeboats – and then what?
When the unthinkable happens it doesn’t help much to be reminded that good stuff happens too. Sometimes it takes a mighty powerful lighthouse to guide us home and even then, not everyone makes landfall. All the rest of us can do is keep those lighthouses painted and their great prisms turning. Just in case.
Two of my favourite lighthouse photos, chosen at random from a selection that my brother took during his years at sea, just happen to be of the same lighthouse on Bird Island in Mandela Bay, and were taken on his last trip. I chose them without knowing this – in fact, without even realising that they were of the same lighthouse. The significance is this: his first-ever memory of going to sea was as a very small boy on the harbour tug John Dock out of Port Elizabeth to Bird Island. Our father was the chief engineer – the crew referred to my brother as “little chief” on that trip. Years later when he joined the harbour service in Durban he was eventually sent to the tug John Dock as chief engineer. He dug out the old log books from 1948/9 and found our father’s signature on the daily logs. Don’t you agree that truth is always stranger than fiction?
“Less” is not “more” when
I see your favourite brand on the shelf, but there’s no reason to buy it
Lizards are sunning themselves on the wall when I get home
No-one leaps on the keyboard when I’m busy
There’s no extra pair of eyes to watch me work
I don’t have to lift you off the clean washing
There are no pawprints below your special window
A dog’s sitting in your favourite spot
You don’t come to me when I’m crying.
I still conjure the broken catch of your purr
feel that bony frame under your smooth coat
know that you weigh less than nothing at all
because all the cats in the world are not you.