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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Ugly, stuck and dead
Devoid of meaning
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.
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
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
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
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
And your own insecurities
And 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 of you
Your vibrant personality
To hear a voice yelling for tea
Or saying, once again, I love you
And to hear, something more
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
And the chance to check
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
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