Tuesday, April 23, 2013


If I could paint; if I had been given the gift
of taking images that fall on rods and cones
and with brush and pigment
transfering them to paper, board or canvas,
I would paint a picture of a mountain

Not Table Mountain,
though everybody wants to pin it down
on a photo or a postcard
and hang it on a wall.
I admit:
 it is nice to look at from the other side of the bay,
 useful as something to show visitors,
and invaluable as a navigational aid,
(without it I wouldn't know my way home)
but no, I wouldn't paint Table Mountain.

The mountain I would paint
is this round plum pudding mountain
 that surprises me each morning
with the joyful richness of its colours
as the sun's rays touch
its grey and olive speckled slopes
and its stripy orange cliffs.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I was delighted to have this poem of mine published in Carapace and even more delighted to hear that it had been read on Cape Talk by John Maythem.

Birding Course
I discover a new language
full of chirps and warbles
and learn to read signs of
claw size, beak shape,
length of leg and curve
of wing in flight

Through binocular glass
I pass into another world,
see the heron playing 'statues',
the kingfisher's helicopter hover
and the croquet-hoop necks
and mallet heads of
flamingos at the vlei

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I have fallen in love with flamingos. They are so weird, with their upside-down beaks, their snake-like necks and the quacking noise they make and they are so elegant in the way they walk, like models on a catwalk.  Since they have been coming to forage at Sandvlei, walking the dogs has become a birding expedition and I now go out carrying binoculars as well as dog leads and poo bags.

Banking on the first of the month

Poetry month in United States, Karin says. She also promises to write a poem every day in April. This sounds a good idea. I would like to do likewise. The poem does not have to be a long one. Someone suggests a haiku at the end of each day. Here is mine.
I stood at the bank
in a patient line of clients
for nearly an hour.

Why do we all put up with this appalling service? The tellers are wonderfully efficient and helpful, but there are just not enough of them. When this happened before, I complained, only to be told that they like to encourage customers to use ATMs. They did admit that not all business could be done by a machine, but didn't seem much concerned about clients being inconvenienced.  This branch is spanking new, hugely spacious and beautifully appointed. There are only three counters for tellers, but there is a long row of underutilised automatic banking machines. The rent charged for the offices must be enormous and the cost of the installations must have been very large too. It is as I have always suspected: in the banking industry money and possessions are important and people, whether they are staff or customers don't matter at all.