On a balmy night in Mosselle

On a balmy night a star appeared somewhat early

Into the fading day light she fell through the fork of a tree

Like a grain of barley against the sky, and there she hanged,

Calling for the night to give her luminance.


Under that same tree, a woman thought

She could just start walking against the mild breeze

Shut the door and without locking it

Straddle past the locked cars without suitcases or passports

through the run down streets of Victorian Erdington

Where night traders light up their cigarettes to cheer her on

And a  polite man with a rucksack says hello

Listening to his accent that sounds familiar she carries on

To the narrow street where a car stops and talks to a woman in a pencil skirt

and the woman answers back in the foreign language our woman understands.


Our woman’s walk is urgent but without fear because she’s rehearsed it many times.

Hundreds of miles feel only as hours

Dartfort Crossing, Dover, Calais….

Their lorries and sea containers are insignificant

Belgian flatness and passing clouds do not stir her

She does not care about flower baskets on the motel entrances

Or the misty rain that shrouds her shoulders

From the grassy road verges, she skims over the beauty of Brugge

She suddenly sees the world for what it is – an illuminated snake

More dazzling and meandering than any star!


But then she spots the Moselle river

That schemes around the hills like a friendly snake

The scent of honey and golden grapes is unmistakable

She rests her head between the Riesling vines,

And, without any bed, she sleeps a comfortable sleep

Under the tree with a branch like a fork.


And a star, that has always been there continues to keep her company,

Regardless of her staying in a foreign land or returning home

passing Erdington, Dover, Calais, Moselle and Sait George,

or even stopping in a vineyard half-way though….

The star that does not move, yet follows her every move,

is asking for more Luminance.






Port Motherwell

He lives in Motherwell and knows that fences get hot in January.  The heat from the sun does not bother him but the tourists do. Their passing cars steal the view from the graveyard.

The Motherwell graveyard is bigger than Motherwell township itself. It is also greener, neater and full of people in their best suits.

Like ships that move in and out of Port Elizabeth, the Motherwell graveyard receives coffins with dated goods.

Today, the sun is shining on another funeral and the boy wonders if the hole in the ground  feels any cooler. Surely, it can’t be as bad as toilets on the far side.

Small cloudlets appear above Nelson Mandela Bay, like ethereal jelly fish they tease the land with a thought of rain, meanwhile, the water ban still continues.

The man with the moustache continues to mouth the words the procession knows by heart. The Christian rhymes, stifled by the hot air dwell on the ground…how is God ever gonna hear them in South African heat?

Boy’s dirty finger nails are caught in the iron wrought fence. ‘You must cut them today’, it is what his mother laying in Motherwell graveyard would have said.

*On the road between Motherwell township and Motherwell graveyard in January 2018, the boy was stuck to the fence looking towards the graveyard as the funeral was taking place…the rest is imagined.