Jean Morse

Hear the music

Young man catches my eye
Should we glimpse other worlds?
It is optimistic and positive

There are notes between words
There are places like songs
Lying pooled in silence

Hear the music we do not know
In everyday existence and activism
Express ourselves in that song

On the edge in the dark –
Dangerous –  but what the  Hell!

Jean Morse

Angels 

Angels are very real.

My first experience with an angel was when my husband was seriously ill in hospital after two major operations. He had been in hospital for some time and the doctors were at their wits end to find the right method to heal him. I had a friend who practised healing but was not convinced that this would help. Waiting for my car to be repaired at a service station I was paging through a magazine when I came upon an article about the amazing results of healing in the Philippines. The message came through to me and I contacted my angel friend who would from then visit my husband at different times. She had the ability to cheer him up and also sent healers from her circle who were able to immediately dispel any build-up of infection and put my husband on the path to good health which he achieved after five months in hospital. Even the skeptics agreed that the laying on of hands was a major contributor to his recovery.

When my son was injured in a motor accident and became a quadriplegic, many angels crossed my path. There were the angels who looked after him in hospital for eight months. There were the angels who contributed to our journey to Israel for rehabilitation. Then when we had been in Israel for a while and our money was running out and I had to hire a car to get to and from the hospital, an angel telephoned me to invite us to stay in her home. She became a friend and to this day we remember her kindness and the role she played in our lives.

During our stay in Israel we had many encounters with angels.

One day whilst driving through the streets of Jerusalem we were uncertain of the direction to take to reach our destination. Waiting undecided at a crossing, a car hooted from behind – it was the person we were going to visit. He drove up behind us, recognized the wheelchair on the roof of the car and said- “Follow me”. Angels perform miracles.

Angels appear whenever the need is expressed.

Driving through the streets of Israel there were angels looking after me as the street names are in Hebrew and traffic keeps to the right hand side of the road. Being accustomed to driving on the left hand side of the road this proved to be quite a hazardous undertaking.

My son proceeded to Munich with his carer while I returned home. He had not been there long when he had kidney failure and ended up in hospital. I received a telephone call to say that he was in a coma . As it would take about two days to get to him I was most concerned about his condition. A friend contacted an angel in Munich who did not know my son but went to visit him with a bunch of roses. A visit from this angel was the moment when he turned the corner to a full recovery.

Doctors and nurses are angels, friends are angels, little children are angels.

Believe in angels and they will appear.

Open your eyes after an operation and there is an angel beside your bed.

Look into the face of a dear friend – there is an angel.

Take the soft hand of a little child and walk through a field of flowers – there is an angel.

Talk to angels – they listen.

Jean Morse

The Rock
In the centre is a rock
Water gushes over the rock
the rock is still

water eddies round the rock
the rock is still

deep pools form
the rock is still

pebbles tumble in the stream
the rock is still

clouds gather, heralding a storm
the rock is still

rain falls, lightning strikes
the rock is still

colours flash, birds cry
the rock is still

mountains soar, touch the sky
the rock is still

watch the horizon, a rainbow appears
the rock is still.

Jean Morse

Inook 

He lives with the blue ice and snowy shores of the Antarctic.

The water is deep and cold as he swims with the seals.

He wears a black wet suit and flippers so they accept him as one of them when

he dives and cavorts under water .

He lives on a diet of fresh fish which

he has learnt to catch and eat like a seal.

Beneath the sea is the wreck of an ancient sailing ship.

Like a seal he dives and swims through the hull of this sunken ship.

He seeks the treasure chest which legend has it lies in the captain’s cabin

He finds the chest but has no means of opening it.

He dreams of opening this casket.

Only the seals know of his finding the chest so his secret is safe

At the end of the day he flips onto the snowy banks with the seals then removes his wetsuit and goes into the fishing village, dressed as a man..

One evening he sees the captain of the sunken ship at the inn on the wharf.

The captain’s constant companion is his parrot, Polly.

Inook overhears the captain telling his sweetheart about the wily parrot.

“Only this parrot knows the magic words which will open my treasure chest at the bottom of the ocean”

“What are the magic words?” she whispers.

“When she says ‘Highly Colimey’ the lid of the chest will open

but I do not have the means to dive down to the wreck with her.”

Inook resolves to capture the parrot and dons his wetsuit one day

when the parrot is dozing on a bollard on the quayside.

He swims silently and leaps out of the water to grab the parrot.

“Gotcha, now to take you down to the treasure in the captain’s cabin”

Of course he cannot take the parrot down under the sea so he blows up a balloon and puts the parrot inside.

Swimming with the seals he takes the parrot in the bubble to the bottom of the ocean.

Finding the treasure chest he pops the balloon and the parrot shoots up to the surface. .

A cruising Great White swallows the parrot whole.

The parrot squawks and shouts “Highly Colimey”.

The shark opens his mouth and the parrot flies out .

Imagine Inook’s surprise when he sees the parrot again

sitting on the captain’s shoulder.

Inook thinks – “I’ll have to be bolder.”

“That’s a fine bird you have” says he to the captain.

“Aye, and I never let her out of my sight now since she went missing for a few days.”

Inook wanders off to think of a plan – decides to bring the chest from the depths.

Down he dives with a monkey wrench, bangs away and lifts the chest.

He again meets the captain and plies him with drink,

grabs the parrot quick as a wink

“Now me hearty, you’ll come with me

to open the chest at the bottom of the sea.”

The parrot will not betray the captain – so rolls over playing dead.

Inook feels deflated , goes outside to think it over.

The captain, now recovered, suspects Inook’s up to no good

so follows him home one day.

He looks through the window and sees Inook beside his chest.

The truth dawns. “Now I know why he is so interested in my parrot. – I’ll play him at his

own game.”

The next time they meet the captain says to Inook.

“I would like to make a deal with you. I see you have retrieved my chest from the depths. I will bring my parrot to open the chest and then we can split the treasure.”

Inook has no choice so he accepts the deal.

Polly listens and thinks that she would rather fly away to the tropics than be stuck in this icy place for the rest of her life.

She flies away to a sunny land and leaves Inook and the Captain arguing about the forever locked chest………………… .

Never pin all your hopes on a flighty bird.

Jean Morse

SILENCE MAKES A STATEMENT
Silence makes a statement
belief makes me strong
Silence makes a statement
choose between right and wrong

Silence makes a statement
belief makes me strong
raindrops glisten
crystals catch the song

Silence makes a statement
silence you can hear
sad times lost in oblivion
good times loud and clear

Silence makes a statement
belief makes me strong
swish of oars in morning mist
touch time before it’s gone

Silence makes a statement
take time to listen
don’t give up on strong beliefs
let raindrops glisten

Silence makes a statement
Feel expansive, wide
Be generous – love freely
Yes, no – cut and dried

Wake to the world before it’s gone
catch the sun before it’s gone
touch time before it’s done
Silence makes a statement
Belief makes me strong

Jean Morse

Just for the Ride

Her husband – middle-aged and largely bored
is ready for a fling
He sits at home all day
and doesn’t say a thing

Knitting away – plain and purl
she is prim and proper
‘Women talk to me’ he says
She has naught to offer

She irons his shirts
she cooks his food
Whatever she does
he’s in a mood

He leaves the house
slams the door
‘Good riddance’ says she
to his 4 x 4

In town this fancy, buxom blonde
causes quite a stir
It’s plain to see she fancies him
and that he fancies her

So comes the day
the two decide
to give it a go
just for the ride

Off they go together
their love both hot and steamy
to laze the days away
in a setting cool and dreamy

Now their time has ended
what will the future bring?
They keep their love a secret
They know the truth will sting

His wife at home keeps knitting
knows he’s having an affair
wonders should she confront him
No, she would not dare

She hears his 4 x 4
keeps a stony face
He tries to sneak upstairs
Will he last the pace?

He eagerly anticipates
the times they spend together
His lover greets him warmly
he is under the weather

He clutches at his heart
She thinks he’s not the same
He topples at her feet
Oh! My goodness – what a shame

Later when he’s found
his wife is not affronted
She still has her knitting
and knows she was not wanted.

Jean Morse

The Birth

She trusts you implicitly. She looks at you knowing that you will understand as one female to another what she is about to experience.

She becomes agitated seeking a safe place, scratching to make a nest. At last she is satisfied and lies down in her whelping box . Her sides begin to heave.  She pants and her eyes glaze over with pain. She groans and a small black  ball is pushed out from the birth canal. It is covered in a film which the mother licks away, exposing a black satin coat and eyes tightly shut to the world.

Her first puppy. She is so proud and looks for recognition but is too preoccupied with the birthing of the next puppy to wag her tail.

The miracle of life stirs deep feelings within you. You cradle this soft, warm bundle, so fragile, so fragrant, in the palm of your hand.

Jean Morse

The Birth

She trusts you implicitly. She looks at you knowing that you will understand as one female to another what she is about to experience.

She becomes agitated seeking a safe place, scratching to make a nest. At last she is satisfied and lies down in her whelping box . Her sides begin to heave.  She pants and her eyes glaze over with pain. She groans and a small black  ball is pushed out from the birth canal. It is covered in a film which the mother licks away, exposing a black satin coat and eyes tightly shut to the world.

Her first puppy. She is so proud and looks for recognition but is too preoccupied with the birthing of the next puppy to wag her tail.

The miracle of life stirs deep feelings within you. You cradle this soft, warm bundle, so fragile, so fragrant, in the palm of your hand.

Jean Morse

Egotism, life’s foraging soldier
Huge waves crashing against bleak rocks
Water swishes, pushes, recedes, collects in quiet pools
Nourishing comfort both for oneself and others.
Renate Scoble 

Feel rain

Sea – stormy and turbulent                                               
concealing forgotten wrecks
waves crashing against rocks
the sound of energy and power.
What am I looking for –
not fame and fortune
escape egotism – life’s foraging soldier
free myself, smell roses, feel rain
think not of endings but beginnings
see widely subdue the pain
keep searching – it’s buried there
touch skin kiss lips stroke hair
shed tears make laughter
like waves crashing against rocks
go with the flow
walk along a windswept beach
eyes slit against sandblasting wind
vision narrowed objects obscured
is my goal almost in reach
see  bright pebbles on the beach
the tide rushes in, recedes and collects in quiet pools
break away  from constraints
like the woman reclining
large and rudely nude
her sexuality exposed
with orange nipples  bare
her abandonment I’d like to share
giving nourishing comfort to those who dare

Jean Morse

The intricately carved door is set back from the dusty road. A woman  invites me inside. She is dressed in a purple and gold sari and moves fluidly across the room. A handwoven carpet embossed with exotic flowers and peacocks cushions my feet.  I am enveloped in the  aroma of Eastern spices – cardamom, ginger,  cinnamon and cumin. We sip chai as she regales me with episodes of her life – of the old Colonial days.  Sahibs, horses and tigers figure prominently in her stories. She tells of her relationship with elephants.  She gestures to a large archway leading to a lush garden of palm trees and bougainvillea.  A contrast to the dusty road outside.  I follow the woman and inhale the heavy scent of frangipani. In the shade of a banyan tree the old mahout, Pabu, sits crosslegged on the ground. Beside him his elephant rests her wrinkled trunk on his shoulder, blinking her watery eyes. They have worked a lifetime in the jungle together and now find peace in quiet contemplation. 

They have worked a lifetime in the jungle together and now find peace in quiet contemplation. Beside him his elephant rests her wrinkled trunk on his shoulder, blinking her watery eyes. In the shade of a banyan tree the old mahout, Pabu, sits crosslegged on the ground. I follow the woman and inhale the heavy scent of frangipani. A contrast to the dusty road outside. She gestures to a large archway leading to a lush garden of palm trees and bougainvillea. She tells of her relationship with elephants. Sahibs, horses and tigers figure prominently in her stories. We sip chai as she regales me with episodes of her life – of the old Colonial days. I am enveloped in the aroma of Eastern spices – cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and cumin. A handwoven carpet embossed with exotic flowers and peacocks cushions my feet. She is dressed in a purple and gold sari and moves fluidly across the room. A woman invites me inside the intricately carved door, set back from the dusty road. 

Jean Morse

Darkness black as night

Darkness, black as night
Once she walked along the road
striding briskly in the light.

Now she has to fight
limping along the path once strode
the darkness, black as night.

Holding pain and  anguish tight
she pauses in isolation mode
where once she sought the light.

Will she live or die?
To live she must erode
the darkness, black as night.

She sees the candle, burning bright –
casting shadows, flickering gold
striving, bringing light.

She has fought the demon of the night
the end of a story told –
no longer darkness, black as night
striding briskly in the light.

Jean Morse

Touch the moon

I’m going to shake loose
soar above the clouds,
swim across the ocean,
touch the moon.

Sit in the glow
of the setting sun,
watch the evening star
get brighter.

See the light –
be softer, more gentle.
Revel in beauty
believe in right.

Expose my emotions –
the truth will out.
Don’t hide my feelings –
tell what it’s all about

Believe in the moment
believe in tomorrow
believe in God
to heal my sorrow. 

Jean Morse

It is quiet there

Travel to a distant place – it is quiet
there. My voice is waiting
in this quiet place.

My voice
has power, the power
to break through

this quiet place.
My voice wants to be heard.
I am tired

of listening, tired
of a quiet place. I will shout, stamp
my feet, throw my arms up

in the air. ’Listen,
listen to me. Time is running
out.’ My voice

will be heard through the words
I write. Remembering how
I felt on horseback with the wind

rushing by. Remembering
the scent of wild
flowers in the veld at

Springtime. Remembering
dancing by firelight,
my sun-bronzed body

supple and firm.  Not constricted
by old age and pain.
My voice will be

loud and filled
with laughter –
not judgemental or critical. My voice

will create miracles.

Jean Morse

In the rain

She is cocooned in the warmth of her little car. The scent of green apples in the basket on the back seat permeates the warmth. The rain is pelting down as the windscreen wipers swish from side to side. The familiar voice on the radio gives the daily report on which roads are affected by accidents, which traffic lights are out of order and the latest high jacking.

Every morning on her way to work she passes a man walking along the road. How far does he have to walk to work? He looks up every day as she passes by. Today she sees his wet clothes, the mud squelching in his shoes, his hands clutching a plastic bag. Humphrey recognizes the little grey car as it passes him and disappears in the pouring rain. He knows this lady who passes him every morning. Maybe she would like to give him a lift but she cannot take a chance to stop. .He talks quietly to himself as her car disappears down the road.

‘I know that I am a good man, but I am not sure about the other people on the road. I am also afraid when I walk in the early morning darkness.’

Every morning she sees his eyes raised in recognition. She would like to ask him “What is your name? Where do you live? Do you have a wife and children?’

Humphrey has a wife and two children. They are fortunate to lived in a newly constructed dwelling with two bedrooms and one living room. The kitchen is part of the living room – a warm place with its shelves covered in patterned plastic for plates and coffee mugs – the table set with bowls of steaming mealiemeal for the children before they go to school.

As he drank his strong sweet tea before leaving, he had told his wife about this lady who passed him every morning.

“Constance, I’m telling you – this lady who passes me every morning in her car as I walk to work – one day I will put up my hand to ask for a lift even if I know that it is dangerous for her to stop. I want her to know that I understand. I want to tell that lady I am only black not shady.

And so he had left in the pouring rain, glancing at the chickens and his dog huddled in the outside shed against the wet and cold.

He trudges through the heavy rain, his shoes already squelching and his raincoat sodden. ‘Yes, he thinks – I will try to speak with this lady some day.’

She slows down as she passes this man again and decides that she will at least wave to him tomorrow – that will be a small beginning.

Jean Morse

A man has needs

Piet Bees sighed as he gripped the steering wheel of his bakkie with his large
hands, calloused and sunburnt from many hours spent working outdoors on his dairy farm. His piercing blue eyes were shaded by his wide-brimmed felt hat which, when donned in greeting, revealed his whitened forehead.

‘Ja, nee’ he sighed again. Life was different these days. His children had left the home and his wife seemed to scold continuously –

‘Wipe the mud off your boots.’

‘Stop snoring! Sleep in the other room.’

‘Why are you home so late? Out drinking with your mates again?’

She no longer welcomed him warmly or fulfilled his needs. A man had needs.

Now take that lovely English widow who lived in the dorp. Whenever he drove down the one tarred road he would look to see if she was tending her roses. He would stop and greet her – lift his hat and ask ‘How are you to-day, Mrs Good?’ Her reply would be ‘Oh, I’m, lovely and how are you?’ The only answer to such a greeting would be ‘Oh, I’m lovely too, thank you.’

On this day, as he drove in the heat of the afternoon, when most of the local people were resting behind closed shutters, he slowed down as he approached the home of the Widow Good.

Sally Good had decided to do a little painting to freshen her verandah. In the quiet heat of the afternoon, most of the neighbours were indoors so she deemed it safe to tackle this task clad only in her panties and bra. However, her ample bosom and curvaceous derriere were not adequately contained in these skimpy garments – her breasts spilling over like pink marshmallows.

Lost in a deep reverie of desire, Piet Bees was confronted by the unbelievable sight of Sally Good, up a ladder, paint brush in hand, half naked – as if in answer to his needs. Such was his shock that he let go of the steering wheel, cupping his hands as if to grasp those tempting mounds of pink flesh. Unfortunately he slammed his foot down on the accelerator instead of the brake and connected with one of the few electric light poles in the street.

When the power in the dorp went off suddenly that afternoon, there was great consternation. Piet, highly embarrassed and confused, stood twirling his hat – thanking his lucky stars that Mrs Good had disappeared inside to cover up. The local policeman came to investigate the bent pole and damaged bakkie –

‘So now, Oom Piet, how did this happen?’

‘Well, Sersant, It is difficult to explain – maybe the sun was in my eyes – but I can tell you I got a big fright, alright.’

Piet went home home in his damaged bakkie and resolved to banish all thoughts of Mrs Good from his mind. It did, however, not stop him from driving into the dorp to meet his regular pals at the local pub.

After a good evening of backslapping, drinking and story telling a rowdy voice enquired, ‘Tell us, Piet, how did you have that accident in the main street?’

‘Well now, a man has needs – you know what I mean,’ – and the story came out with added titbits. Piet felt quite proud of the whole episode, especially as a fully clad Mrs Good now made a point of stopping him, whenever he passed her house to invite him in to meet his needs.

Jean Morse

Phantom of the Veld

‘I believe that from the earth all creation springs. Once I performed on the stage as a singer and guitarist. Then I was even married for a while. I became disillusioned with my way of life and believed there was a better way for to live.

 ‘On the family farm lives the old jackal tracker. I have known him for many years. He is now 90 years old and has passed on to me his vast knowledge of the medicinal properties of the herbs we crush beneath our feet when we walk in the veld. So, this old man is my protector. With my six dogs who have names such as Jafta Morrees and Lugman Morester , I live in a simple tin- roofed dwelling with no insulation from the heat or cold. My days are spent with the old man. We wander through the veld for hours, searching for the herbs which are effectively used to restore health and well being to those suffering from various ailments.

‘When I need warmth in the winter or for cooking I chop wood for the fire. I collect water from a nearby dam for washing and cooking. To keep my skin supple and healthy I massage with rendered-down Afrino tail fat mixed with herbs. To bake, I use the time-honoured method of digging a hole in the ground and heaping hot ash on top of the food to be baked. The secret is not to peep as it cooks as the heat will escape. At night I find candlelight quite adequate for my needs as I go to sleep soon after the sun has set and rise again with the morning light.’

On our return from a foray into the veld to search for herbs she points to a nearby disused house and notes that it is in need of restoration. She explains that there is no sense in restoring this house as no one will live there. It was once occupied by an evil woman and the local people believe her restless spirit still haunts the house.

Back at the homestead we relax on the verandah. She sips her chilled wine, lights her pipe and sits back in her chair. We hang on her words as she recalls her childhood: memories of time spent on the farm which we now occupy. She has an air of other-worldliness. As the afternoon shadows lengthen she shifts her slender body in her russet coloured robe to indicate that it is now time to return home to help the old man with the weekly chore of chopping wood. She rejects our offer of wood already chopped and displays her sinewy muscles achieved through her wood chopping exercise. She regards it as an essential part of her primitive existence.

She leaves me with a sense of regret, sad that her way of life is regarded as eccentric, sad that I have lost the ability to live without all the trappings of modern society.