(for all women who fight to live in dignity)
I turned around and
and nobody told me
life would hasten
to judge me again
being a woman,
and now growing old
wanted for play
and wanted for work
curves could convince
and eyes would coerce
around the lewd,
a red flag
to go beyond
no audience there
to crush these walls
of a prison set
right after birth
the law could bend
albeit never break
not wanted for play,
not wanted for work
no respect to get
or wisdom to give
(a target for botox,
that set aside)
a white flag
at an empty hall
no audience there for
a withering hag;
no status or justice
for this gender spurned
rules can still bend,
and yet never break.
Christmas is looming around the next corner;
cards and parcels sent and received.
At the post office (I wipe off my shoes)
I send off a present to friends in the heat –
they’re home in Zambia, all to the South.
The girl at the counter inspects the address.
She keys in with verve, then halts in her moves:
“Zambia, where is it?”; she’s muddled in guess.
“African South”, I tell her surprised
(Generation smartphone, no one @ home?)
“South Africa, oh!” she exclaims in relief.
I frown and correct her, slightly impatient:
“Southern”, I stress and cannot believe.
She appears to be trapped, asked a trick question.
I feel her brain ticking, about to implode.
I give her the look (howcanyounotknow?).
Her fingers are frozen, stand-by in mode.
I wait for a minute or two or another.
Then, all of a sudden it strikes my awareness:
She won’t find “Zambia” in this one computer
In the language of Goethe, it spells with an ‘S’.
“Try then with ‘S’”(Generation X advices today).
She types again – her face now lights up.
My parcel is stamped and sent on its way.
(because every now and then I ask myself: is it still there,
the willingness to choose the less obvious path?)
When fog has slid off the up-rolling hills,
Will I take the footprints captured in snow
or choose to climb the rough path of thrills?
When angst has left the up-growing child,
Will I tend the bench and watch people flow
or climb the boat of destiny’s wild?
See, the tree standing age-old
has felt the world of ages unfold
The woodpecker’s knock pounding the trunk
I listen in vain for secrets to thunk.
When cold has fled to un-distant shore,
Will I swim the creek my custom in tow
or ride the ocean to search and explore?
When fear has left the un-certain youth,
will I till a land quite painless to sow
or plod through the mud to find out the truth?
See, the cliff mounting the guard
has watched the sea for years without part.
The sea gull’s complaint screeching the rock
I listen in vain for stories to squawk.
But! Hear, the water lying so quiet
underneath the snow waiting to riot.
The primrose’s push breaking the earth
will bring me the tales of thousands of births.
they bring the chill
to pull off summertired leaves
to suck the breath off warmer lakes
I learned the seasons by my heart
they know on how to play their part
as stars wipe out the evening glow
then chased by sun with light in tow
it brings the mists
to stroke off all the wilted vines
to push the birds towards the South
I gathered years in broken jars
locked them far behind soul’s bars
as age removes the trace of youth
followed by the aches of truth
it brings the dusk
to cover up the dog day’s heat
to tell the fields they now must shiver
I sailed through time on borrowed boats
forgot to look for beacon’s coasts
as people loot and leave my sorrows
replacing old for new tomorrows