Thought Rising

I am nebulous
A fistful of dreams
As wispy as air
Rising like steam
 
I am the salt
On a sea breeze
Cascading over rocks
With thunderous ease
 
I hover in the sound
of crickets at night
Linger in the palette  
of day’s ending light
 
I rise on the roar
of a lion newly sated
And rest in the soporific stupor
Of the recently mated
 
I am distraction, obsession,
blandness
Purpose, possession,
The seeds of madness
 
I am passion and boredom entangled
A stream of consciousness chaotically mangled
I am the focus that comes from a scream
And the hazy contemplation of last night’s dream
And laundry and bills and self-esteem
 
I am the tip, the edge, the whole
The all, the nothing
The gentle unfolds
Of tomorrow
 
I am the fuel that keeps
Curiosity burning
Anxiety curdling
Dreams unfurling
 
I am thought
Rising unbidden.
 

The Birds Still Sing

In the dappled shadows
Beneath the leaves of
Mangrove trees that breathe in
Sunlight and saltwater
I walk
And slow my breath
 
And in the stillness
Of that moment
Against the silver gleam of green
Grass shimmering 
Wet with morning dew
I hear the birds sing
 
A hundred different sounds fill the sky
Whistles and twitters
Warbles and chitters
A wondrous symphony
swoops and swirls
And falls like gentle rain
Onto my ears
Tuned away from chaotic fears
 
There is a rose
That captures my eye
A red blossom cupped to the sky
The gentle scent, I suppose,
Reminds me of the papery skin
Of my grandmother
On a farm
In the middle of long ago
With her pantry stocked for months on end
And a garden of vegetables to tend
And a shelf full of homemade biscuits
 
History is recorded in the past
But lived in the present
Or in the imagined days of tomorrow
But come back now, here to now
For the birds still sing
And the grass is still green
And red roses still turn their heads to the sun
And today’s script is yet to be written

Then I breathe

When anxiety comes upon me
Like a fluttering little bird
Wings beating against the cage of my chest
 
Then I breathe
 
I breathe the calming breath of nature’s forever connection
From the stars that birth the building blocks of us
To the leaves that sway in the breeze
 
I breathe into the space between things
The space between the you and the me
The space between the me and the trees
The space between the womb and the grave
And all the things we perceive
As separate.
 
And nature breathes with me
She ripples in the wind
The invisible wind
That caresses your skin
And the curve of my cheek
As we watch the waves rise and recede
Standing on the beach made from a thousand yesterdays

Bridging the boundary
That is but an illusion
Of time
And ego
And perception
 
I breathe into the space of invisible connection
I breathe away the illusion of the space between
I breathe stillness into the fluttering wings of the shuddering bird
Caught in the cavity of my chest.
 
 Sharlene Zeederberg, Feb 2020

On trains…

Photo by runzi zhu on Unsplash

Out of the settling dusk
It glides into the station
A metal snake with screeching breath
Disgorging a tumble of people from its warm belly
 
I step inside the beast
Into air thick with a day’s activity,
Rigid ribs of seats hold weary bodies
All wrapped up in virtual worlds
 
A fetid tinge of alcohol, the rustle of a paper bag
Waft through the carriage
 
Beyond the reflections of heads bent on phones
Flickering images of night rush by
Darkness punctuated by red full stops
that leak from their edges
And bright rectangles of light,
Lined up like platoons,
In the clatter of a faster train
On its own straight and narrow gauge
 
The rhythmic clicking of machinery in action
The beating heart of progress
Slows to a reassuring hum
And with a screech and the slight
bump of inertia
we arrive at a brightly lit station
 
And I am myself disgorged
into the waiting arms of home.

I saw you and I loved you

I saw you and I loved you

From the moment that we met

Even if I didn’t know what love meant then

And sometimes still forget.

 

We connected in an exploding star

Your heart and mine,

And travelled separately and together through space

To this time and this place.

 

I know this because I feel the universe

Inside my love for you

A vast expanse that knows no bounds

And expands ever into them.

 

I resonate, I do

At an intimately infinite level

In time with your own unique vibration

Because we are two halves of one whole

Formed in the same fiery furnace

In time’s violent beginnings

 

And sometimes I catch my breath

With the sudden realisation

Of the perpetuity of our connection

A silver thread that transcends reality.

 

Here and now we’ve grown together

Like two trees

Wound our trunks around each other

Over coffee and chores and

Before the cry of offspring and school reports,

Over tequila shots and greasy breakfasts

And broken hearts and the struggle for self-identity.

And yet, here we still stand

 

Yes, here we stand

On the edge of now

With tomorrow ahead and yesterday behind

On the edge of this moment here

A million possible moments in this very moment

And I know

I know in the very make up of my matter

That my love for you extends across infinitude

And bad moods

To all those universes where you and I might dance a different dance

And make different choices or live different lives

Or perhaps we’ve not even met, yet.

And still we were born in the same star

And we create infinite music together.

c Sharlene Zeederberg, March 2018

Beware The Pious

Beware the pious
Wrapped smugly in their hard-edged worlds
With ancient words of steel that crack like thunder
On an open field.
Enrobed with suspicious glare
They march around the borders of minds
They’ve furrowed dry and bare
Wary for ideas buried there

Beware the pious
who control your mind
Wrap you up in culture
Teach you to be unkind
Or worse
Static.
Still.

For the river that does not flow
grows dank and dirty –
festering in its own excrement.
And the mind that fixates on a single point of view
Hardens in its certainty.
Like concrete,
Ugly, stuck and dead
Devoid of meaning
Of love
Of life
Of God.

So beware the pious who invoke ancient rules
with no room for love.
Who make war on the creative spirit,
that is the voice of your better self,
with holy scriptures stuck in time.
Unyielding.
Used out of place to stir up disgrace.

Oh beware, beware
Those who claim to know the mind of God
Who demand your unquestioning silence
With threats of violence
And your oath
Of blind fealty

For they care not for you.

Beware the pious with their myopic gaze
Who’ve never looked up with wonder at the moon
Or stretched their minds into the vast caverns of space
Which throws shadows on conviction.
For they would sacrifice your future on the pyres of a past
They cling to with necromantic fingers,
And braid your fears into blindness.

Beware the pious who police
your food,
your clothes,
your body,
your opinions,
your mood.
Your soul
Which thirsts, with deep desire,
To dream, to seek, to expand
And dare take flight
beyond the confines of cult and slight.
Your soul which shimmers with the glimmer of love
Like a naked body, touched by the whisper of winter air
On an autumnal evening,
And is moved
By art
And music
And a sky full of stars.

Beware the pious.
They care not for you.
They speak not for you.
They would destroy you to protect their own desires.
And claim the glory for a God of their own imagining.

Sharlene Zeederberg April 2016

Death

I have no words, still after all this time no words

As though your death has rendered me speechless

The blank paper beseeches me to remember you

But my thoughts are like paper confetti

Blown away in an sudden breeze.

How do I put in simple phrases

The complex man you once were

How do I find, in simple places

An expression that captures all I learned

The complex contorted relationship

That strangled, strung out

Display of love and affection

Of esteem and goodwill

Of tired intervention

And fear of never being able to fulfil

The potential you saw in me

The love you promised me

The fear you instilled in me

Through love

With love

And hope

And fear

And your own insecurities

And my own

My own

Which drown me, often.

I travel thousands of miles

In planes and trains and automobiles

To your house where I hope to feel

Something real

Something of you

Your vibrant personality

To hear a voice yelling for tea

Or saying, once again,  I love you

And to hear, something more

Just once

An amendment to the usual call

I love you regardless of what you do

Of who you are

Of what you think

I love you as you are

Every blemish, every chink

But it is silent now

So silent

And the chance to check

To ask

Is gone.

The background has closed in

And there is not even a physical space

Where you used to be

Just an emotional scar

That runs through me

And it is hard to remember the timbre of your voice at all

Unexpectedly

Playing scrabble, my eyes alight on the letter P

All pock-marked white from a run in with your dog, long before me

And suddenly I hear you loud and clear, your spirit fires nearby

A momentary sharp recall before the veil of night whisks you away once more