Shards

By INGRID DE KOK 

 

Nirox, near the Cradle of Humankind, Magaliesberg

1. Early

Night’s cold spittle
has tipped tall grasses.

Pools of cool light
bathe our eyes for an hour

as reeds weave baskets
out of morning air.

A moorhen’s four chicks
are balls of soot across her bow.

The brown hyena was here
but has gone to its lair,

its spoor fading fast
on the hardening path.

How still the present is
on this windless day

before heat reverberates
and rain clouds gather,

the only sound so far
the drone of tractors
excavating new roads
out of the past’s dusty reservoir.

2. Caught in a thunderstorm

In a sudden gust of wind
a thud of acorns hits the ground
surprising us but not as much as

thunder’s warning shot
just before rain delivers
its perpendicular blows

hammering rocks
lancing dam water
and our own thin clothes.

Upright Egyptian geese
don’t shiver at all,
stolid nursemaids of pharaohs

and of baby Moses
asleep in his reed basket
as he floats through the sedge into history.

3. Cradle on the ridge

As the rain falls we think of roofs,
walls, we think about shelter

and the half-discovered cave
on the dolomite ridge nearby,

a crib that rocked our fallen ancestors,
sedimented eyeless prophets

of the land and weather
and what we would end up doing to them.

4. Dreaming in a new place

It is not as if old dreams depart
like foot soldiers recalled to another front
while wives knit socks, roll bandages,

but new dreams do sunder in a different way,
break into shards—sliver of moon, arrow, anklebone,
stone rattle, whitened horn.

 

 

Ingrid de Kok has published five volumes of poetry, most recently Seasonal Fires andOther Signs.

Click here to purchase Issue 04

Shards

Related Posts

Brazilian Poets in Translation

ELIANE MARQUES
Don’t carry large umbrellas (neither at night nor during the day) / They might seem to be an AR-15 rifle or an HK submachine gun / Don’t use drills / They can be confused with a pistol and the bullets being fired / Don’t carry bags / They can suggest that you’re carrying a bomb

poetry feature image

October 2020 Poetry Feature: JinJin Xu

JINJIN XU
And another alights on the sidewalk, / another alights, I step around their outlines / into our next life - om mani padme hum / you emerge from the red dawn to shake open my life, / upside down, flying dust, you unlock / the red cell, cameras light up one by one

Dive

JENNIFER PERRINE
We parked and followed the unlit path, / Hansels and Gretels flocking, hungry, / to our gingerbread shack, sweets hidden / behind a plain façade, unmarked save / for a rainbow draped over the door.