Archive for February, 2009

Poetry Sketch

The challenge this week at  Poetry sketch, was to write in macaronic verse, a form which includes two or more languages.

I enjoyed doing this but I’m not sure it will make sense to anyone else. It includes two languages from South Africa, Zulu and Afrikaans, and the official language of Mozambique where I live, which is Portuguese. My English spelling is atrocious (I’m completely dependent on spell check, so I apologise up front for any misspelling of the other languages.)

(Let’s hit the beach)

Hey man, let’s make like the swallows
who’ve vai-ed north for the spring,
and vamos embora para praia – Zalala!
Alas the Referba mense have hamba –ed off
So there’s no chance of a lekker prawn braai.
But it’s so hot the fish are jumping out the water
(Lakip enhlange amanzini)
and there’s no better place to go shoot the breeze.
We’ll take popcorn as padkos as we swerve potholes,
checking out the coconut machambas and spectral water buffalo.
Rapido, rapido, let’s go, let’s go, vamos embora para praia.

There used to be a group of people living here in Quelimane who gathered for sun downers every Friday evening at the Referba. Because we were all working in difficult situations and Quelimane is thin on light relief we would celebrate with gusto all birthdays. A ‘committee’ would even be formed to plan artwork and possible theatrical productions. Often these celebrations would take place at Zalala Beach, a 45 very bumpy drive from here, where the sea is brown. The Referba mense (people in Afrikaans) have long gone, but we are going to Zalala this weekend for the first time since October last year, and I will be remembering….

It’s so hot the fish are jumping out of the water is a Zulu saying.


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One Single Impression – Twilight

It’s Twilight Time in Quelimane

“The best of times, the worst of times?” perhaps,

The fierce sun, it’s anger spent, has gone to the other side

Crepuscular bats,  killer mosquitoes and those ubiquitous rats abound.

Disabled beggars, neglected street dogs and rotting garbage  –

retreat from sight if not from mind.  The as yet ethereal moon

whispers promises of dancing in the moonlight, feeling free.

But the screen swing door bangs loudly shut against disease

as duty beckons, it’s the graveyard shift of getting children

safely off to dreamland.

It’s twilight time for us in Quelimane?  – perhaps

In limbo between the known and what’s next

I wander what about it I will miss.

The bat laden coconut palms a certainty, rats scurrying across the stage

behind the sermon giver, a maybe .  But most of all

the absence of  those I’ve met.  The fun, fun times

of not so long ago and learning to find the treasure hid within

the earthen vessels that we humans are.

One Single Impression

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My blog is now about two weeks old, and has grown out of it’s old clothes – labeled Praise, Poetry and Parenting. My blog’s new header is a photo of part of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, taken when we visited Malawi at New Year. “Africa’s Great Rift Valley is a 6,000-mile crack (fissure) in the earth’s crust, stretching from Lebanon to Mozambique.” (Exploring the Environment”.) The picture inspired my new label- Neverending Story as the rolling hills beckon one to keep dreaming, exploring, believing…

My great hope is that life itself is a never-ending story, continuing into eternity.

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Monday’s Poetry Stretch

Here goes my attempt at a sijo, as explained at The Miss Rumphius Effect


A family of four crowded together on one big bed – with cat

It’s early in the morning, yet the sun is up – full blast

Excited voices, crumpled sheets – two children doing schoolwork.

This morning, at about 6.00am, Benjamin was his normal “yeah it’s a new day” self, sitting at the end of our bed.  When he suddenly declared, “I feel like doing some work!”   Without waiting for a response he went to fetch his maths workbook and bemused us no end sitting on his haunches painstakingly but enthusiastically  reading “circle the right answer…”.  Of course Joanna followed suit when she awoke.  Probably never happen again.   Though we often stay bed-bound as long as possible while I read them books.

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One Single Impression


Awake at 6 – hot
I am evaporating
what mark will I leave?


Looking like a ghost

malaria in her blood

she is solid joy.

The prompt last week at One Single Impression was movement.  But as broadband was not allowing much movement last week I’m doing it now.


From bed to green pool

From hellish to heavenly

let’s go round and round

Other Haiku can be found at One Single Impression

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Monday’s Poetry Stretch

The prompt at the Monday Poetry Stretch for this week at Miss Rumphius is to write a “love poem you write cannot include any terms of endearment or words of adoration”. Here goes.


“Look, Mama, look!”

“That’s lovely” I say

peering up from a book

for the gazillionth time today.

Why do I find this so hard?

Is my heart made of lard?

Why do I even still bother?

It’s because I’m their mother!

MuM i luvy i lik uoow i wil hug yoow.

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First Week of February 2009

The birds are back

It’s raining and I am swimming my 1km in the Mediterranean- sea – green ex-municipal pool. It’s a wonderful counterpoint to the humid heat and my general ‘down- in -the –dumps -ishness’ . I can feel the joy buried deep within my soul somewhere tentatively extending her tentacles.

Turning my head sideways to take a breath, I notice the two swallows who were born in the eaves of the roof, overhanging the fat cement spectator steps, last year some time. They are sitting a foot apart on the third and final spectator step watching us in the pool. They have fluffed themselves out, because it’s possibly marginally cold for Quelimane with the wind and rain, and give the distinct impression of having put on their windbreakers to go watch the Saturday afternoon sport.

It reminded me that when we first arrived in Mozambique, 11 years ago,  it took us awhile to figure out the silence caused by the absence of birds, as a result of the 16 year civil war during which birds became an important source of protein.

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