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

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