Sepia Tones

In the toreador

Corridor of fate

The stage curtain

Rises in the blink

Of a floating iris

 

And the blind man’s

Trembling fingers

Search the face

Of a stranger

For a semblance

Of a sulking friend

 

The fragile fingertip vision

Picks the water colour memories

Which fade into the bird table

Bath times

Of the autumn rain

 

The chalk on the pavement stones

Is washed by the caress of his touch

As the etch-a-sketch world

Is redrawn and reborn again

 

And the linger tip vision

Seeks the dreamtime’s tracks

Danced on her face

And in the width of her hips

 

And tapping out those letters

Which write to all his loves

Where every clause says

Return to sender

 

And the perfect sound

Of their names

Tinkles the register keys

And rings with the belle of return

 

And the typewriter pages

Burn in the edge

Of the candle flame

Where the sepia wallet pictures

Curl in the heat of the day

Kombo and Kinyonga

“I see you Kombo

Daughter of the African sunset

That burns its majesty on the land

And paints the end of the day

May your gentle eyes see deep in the darkness of the night.”

 

“I see you Kinyonga

Son of the African dawn

That wakes the day with the hush of expectancy

And lifts the shadows of the magic night

May your gentle steps and brilliant colour rejoice the day.”

 

“As we cling to the tree

These changing times

What shall we do?”

 

“Let’s call Anansi and listen to his tales

For he speaks in many, many ways.”

 

“Anansi, come and regale us, as the crack between the worlds deepens and the cicadas pluck their violins as the night takes its hold…….”

 

I tell you a story of a mouse from another land. Harmony was his name and he was born in discord with the spirit of life. He was born in a land of mist and rain, where voices sang to the heavens and the struggle to live marked every soul and the deep memory of the race knew that this had not always been so.

 At the splitting of his birth they gave him a collectors sack so that he could piece the notes together and sing, as he was meant to.

 As Harmony grew he ran hear and there, all bristling whiskers sniffing the air. They took him across the world to feel the lands where the dreamtime lived and showed him the rainbow serpent’s footsteps on the land; to wake the memory beyond the form and stir the cauldron of his inspiration. They brought him here to show the smoke that thunders and the bushman caves, to mark the river’s crocodile path and teach him lessons for later years. Then he went home. And he forgot.

On a hot summer night in a far off land he heard the spirit knock and watched the majesty of the Blue mountain’s glory dawn.

 And he forgot.

Harmony became ill and wanted to die. A mouse is just a mouse he said. So one fateful night he felt his death breathe softly on the hairs of his neck. He scurried home and found in the dusty cobwebs of his heart his collectors sack. So he began again in earnest to seek and to find.

From then on he counted all the moons, the ones that shone the change upon him. The mighty Wizard became his friend and he learned and he learned. He searched for the harbour of his youth and went there back, to the Southern Cape and in the mountains of beyond, it all went wrong. Seared by the Southern sky he began to die.

Back in the land of mist and rain, he crossed a bridge never to return, now collecting in a different way. For now his bag was a bag of dreams. As he passed with-in all was changed in the fire of birth. The mouse became a man and he stood all, all alone.

For now the song was in him and he began to sing. On, a birthday dawn he saw the sun of Sinai’s flaming brush that painted him back.

 He searched again for the Wizard in a heather land, of lochs and castles in the air. Yet for him, he was not there. So he danced in the morning when the world was begun, and he danced in the evening with the setting sun. As he howled at the moon, he knew the freedom of the Wolf and the twinkle of a far off star. His howl resonated with the birth of all the worlds and tickled the hairs that were touched by death’s softest breath.

 And the only remnant of what was, is, the hint of pink in his eyes.