Christina Coates

She is my mother.

She has stood here for millennia – the great grey one – the elephant. She, who was once soft flesh and moving, now stands fixed in stone, mud no longer. She stands. She watches – her eye a cave. I climb up into it and look out across the flats. She sees the sun rise across the sea and fill her dark eye with warmth and light. Then it is dark again. She stands and never leaves, he goes to do his work. She stays and waits – home, shelter, stability. She is my mother. I belong to her, her clan. I live under her eye, her power. She is my mother, my grandmother, my matriarchal line. She watches. She is home. She has watched the hunters, the gatherers, the settlers – the doings of men. Now a woman has come who lives under her and who looks up to her. I look to her for direction. I can see her from Wynberg Hill, from the Blue Route, from afar. She is always here waiting, my home. I tell her my problems, I run to her with good news, I plant my ancestors’ dust in the four corners of her property. They are here, mingled with the dirt. She is there always solid, a mountain-mother watching. A red elephant in the morning sun, grey metal in the rain, misty in the northwest wind, and silver in moonlight.

I meditate on the elephant.

Elephant Sunrise

See the red sun –
red sun on the elephant.
Elephant’s dark eye looks
towards the far mountains.
Dark cave eye –
the whole body is red.
Red, red elephant –
elephant glowing.
Baboon plays tricks
owl hoots wisdom,
bushmen flee.
Below me in the mist
grey clouds roll in.

Red elephant in the mist


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