Renate Scoble

Saved

I shall never forget the first day of my stay in Jerusalem. I was eager to discover the Old City, so steeped in biblical history. Excitement and the wish to avoid the heat of the day brought me early to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the starting point of my intended tour.

As I stood in the swelling queue of people waiting to enter the tomb, somebody bent his head over my shoulder and asked, “Are you a tourist?” I turned to look into the face of a young man. “Of course,” I said. We proceeded slowly down the steps to the tomb. The man did not seem to be greatly interested in the sacred place. His main concern seemed to be to keep close to me. I wondered what made me the focus of his attention.

As I stepped out of the church portal into the street, there was the inquisitive stranger again. He had obviously waited for me. “You are a tourist. I want to guide you. I know the Old City very well.” He spoke with a strong accent. I thanked him but declined the offer. He did not take no for an answer. Promising that he would show me special sights, he fell in step with me.

I begged him to leave me alone. Undeterred, he repeated his offer of service again and again. I ignored him. He was not put off. His footsteps echoed mine for several hours. Whenever I stopped on the Way of the Cross, wherever I entered into a historical building or a shop, he stood beside me. Even if I did not see him, I knew he was there. His presence became a torment. He spoilt a profoundly spiritual experience for me. I began to feel afraid. Yet I did not think of calling for help to get rid of him.

Shortly before midday I stood on the rampart, boundary of the great courtyard at the Dome of the Rock. I was looking over the Valley of Kidron towards the Garden of Ghetsemani. Thinking of the Agony of Christ filled me with deep sadness. Two thousand years of tears have washed over theses events. Will we ever be able to measure the depth of his compassion?

Suddenly I became aware of bering embraced by a cool gentle presence. It was as comforting as sitting in my mother’s lap. My sadness receded and joy spread through me. I was sure that an angel held me close.

The rampart had become quite crowded. I stepped back to make room for a passing youth group and lost my balance. I would have fallen many meters to the paved yard below, had not a powerful arm shot out, scooping me back onto the wall, the arm of my tormenter. I was shocked and shivering like aspen leaves. He led me off the rampart.

I was deeply grateful. I invited him to lunch. His knowledge of English was exhausted after the few words he had learned to attract tourists. I could not discover his purpose in following me. After the meal I took a bus to Bethlehem and never saw him again. But to this day, I am convinced that an angel wanders the streets of Jerusalem, keeping a keen eye on hapless tourists.

Renate Scoble

Contemplation of a poet’s suicide

I am still
but the voices in me rise,
they murmur, they shout,
they are shrill.
Yet to the world I am still.

I am still
while your words torture me;
they taunt me, accuse me.
But my will
dictates that I am still.

I am still
I step into the silent night,
stars shine, the moon smiles
just above the hill.
Tears inside – outward I am still.

I shall be still
When I am ready to say good bye,
I pray that my loved ones understand
why I quit life’s mill.
I am yearning to be still.

I shall be still
when like a shroud of liquid silk
whispering water has engulfed me.
I shall have drunk my fill.
Finally, eternally, I shall be still.

Renate Scoble

Not so well balanced people
 
A Rolls Royce is a great expense,
but Melissa had the lolly;
she hoped it would give her dignity
and cover up her folly.
 
The traffic stopped, the chauffeur bowed,
the bank doors opened wide;
and all around servility
she noted with great pride.
 
Bella stood most patiently
at counter number eight,
she had too much humility
to complain about the wait.
 
Unfinished was her business
when she went away from there.
Much hesitation – then she thought
she’d brave the manager in his lair.
 
On her way to the chief’s bureau
there occurred a sorry matter:
a flimsy scaffolding collapsed
plus painter, with a clatter.
 
Bella slipped in the pool of paint,
between pail and brush sat she,
cradling the poor man in her lap.
Melissa? Showed no sympathy.
 
As Bella wailed and Melissa pouted
came Kate, who quickly took action.
“This man needs help” she shouted.
“Indeed, he probably needs traction.”
 
They sent for a doctor who lived not far
he and an ambulance arrived in a minute.
Melissa swept out to her fancy car,
“Home James”  she cried, getting in it. 

Renate Scoble

He had the smile of a swashbuckler.  She had hoped all night that he would dance with her.  At last he came and they clicked like the opposite poles of a magnet.
 
“You are a good dancer I have been told,” he said.
 
“Oh – but a tango!  I have not danced those too often.”
 
They took their position.  He held her perhaps a bit too tightly, she thought;  she did not mind.  The band struck up.  At the sound of the first note he drew her even closer to himself.
 
They started dancing in tune with the staccato rhythm, swaying gently, turning abruptly.  She became aware of his body’s bonding, down from the arms to the taut muscles of his abdomen and thighs.  His long step invaded the space between her legs, exerting pressure.  A thrill ran up her spine. His hand in the hollow of her back slid slowly lower until it cupped her seat. 
 
Her focus changed from the insinuating tune of the tango to his very presence.  Every time she turned her head, she felt his hot breath fanning her face.  Pearls of sweat formed between her breasts.  Her erect nipples bored into his broad chest. 
 
Sway, turn, rub, pressure – she did not want it to stop.  They did not speak, only their eyes held a dialogue of mounting desire.  

Renate Scoble

Find joy in expression, see widely,
make decisions to fulfil my desires
Shafts of light leading the way from the depth
Waves,crashing, convey power and energy 

Jean Morse


Fresh air, gently moving,
as fanned by a delicate hand,
caressing sleep-warm skin.
Brain still in Morpheus’ embrace.
Eyes tightly shut,
opening to the marvel of first light
defining the Wild Fig against the sky.
Inhaling the new day
I celebrate my gratitude,
find joy in expression, see widely.
 
Footsteps of the last child leaving
echo in my ear and heart.
Empty as the house itself,
what am I to do?
A buried wish arises,
of making me the centre of my world;
not wanting to be either leader
or digit in a team.
Walking to my own drum to new horizons
I shall make decisions to fulfil my desires.
 
Explore the depth of my being
without fear and pretences.
Avoiding the middle-distance
my eyes and senses travel
far and wide, to the unknown.
I slough off indifference
as the snake its skin.
The future hides the rising sun
bringing a different warmth and growth.
Shafts of light leading the way fronm the depth.
 
No relief in being introspective;
vibrancy, all daring squashed,
I want to crawl back into my shell.
A stoney path near the shore,
solitude and time to think afresh.
Waves towering, embracing,
resting in tidal pools,
invigorate, encourage fight.
Nature imparts her strength.
Waves, crashing, convey power and energy.

Renate Scoble

Evening falls,
the air is redolent.
At the open window,
the smell of bruised herbs.
I drink deeply from a glass in my hand.
Relaxed, deep down a feeling stirs
of peaceful growth.
Creativity awakens gently.

Creativity awakens gently
of peaceful growth.
Relaxed, deep down a feeling stirs.
I drink deeply from a glass in my hand.
The smell of bruised herbs
at the open window.
The air is redolent.
Evening falls.
 

Renate Scoble

The terrace door of Grandmother’s house was beautiful; it was the door to paradise,
and it awakened my longing for travelling to distant lands.
The Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve was painted on the glass panels.
On the left, long-tailed birds dipped their beaks into yellow flowers,
while on the right panel the apple tree was covered in mouthwatering fruit.
Grandfather had opened the double door wide and attached a swing to hooks in the frame.
Swinging high, past the colourful birds, flowers and glowing apples, I sang my favorite song:
“The air is gentle, the valley so green, dear mother, let me travel into the wide world.”
I did not know that my wish would be granted but the paradise lost when, at last, I returned.
 
 
I did not know that my wish would be granted but the paradise lost when, at last, I returned.
“The air is gentle, the valley so green, dear mother, let me travel into the wide world.”
Swinging high, past the colourful birds, flowers and glowing apples, I sang my favorite song.
Grandfather had opened the double door wide and attached a swing to hooks in the frame.
While on the right panel the apple tree was covered in mouthwatering fruit,
on the left, long-tailed birds dipped their beaks into yellow flowers.
The Garden of Eden before Adam and Eve was painted on the glass panels
and it awakened my longing for travelling to distant lands.
The terrace door of Grandmother’s house was beautiful; it was the door to paradise.
 
 

Renate Scoble

Happy Contemplation
 
My garden is a great delight,
it nurtures all my senses.
I can enjoy it day and night.
 
When summer days are sparkling bright
with dog-roses on white fences,
my garden is a great delight.
 
But vermin surely I shall fight
after watching their offences.
I shall enjoy it day or night.
 
When early morning’s first pale light
brings with it birds’ cadences
my garden is a great delight.
 
I hope I work my garden right
as each new day commences,
that I may enjoy it day or night.
 
As scents and colours well unite
to animate my senses,
my garden is a great delight.
I can enjoy it day or night.

Renate Scoble

Uncertainty
 
We grew in the darkness of a long night,
waiting in the soft comfort of the womb.
Who is promised a future that is bright?
 
We did not know the misleading light,
that the vagaries of fate may assume.
We grew in the darkness of a long night.
 
From birth we were taught to do what is right,
our teachers worked to nurture and groom.
Who is promised a future that is bright?
 
When does a human show the first blight,
the dark mildew that attacks the bloom?
Does it grow in the darkness of a long night?
 
We all need strength to battle with might
to stay the good course from cradle to tomb.
Who is promised a future that is bright?
 
Is it fate only that weaves at our loom?
Without free will would we descend into gloom?
We grow in the darkness of a long night.
Who is promised a future that is bright?
 

Renate Scoble

Early Morning.

The lilac in the morning air,
the dampness in the meadow,
they smell so sweet, while, debonair,
skips and chirps a sparrow.

The chorus of the songbirds’ trills
fluting on the atmosphere,
its harmony my longingnstills
to leave the place for anywhere.

In the spacious walnut-tree
I sit on forking branches.
My awakening spirit feels so free
as night to daylight blanches.

I wish for soaring to great heights
where thoughts can keep expanding,
yet, limited to ladybird sites,
there’s no gladness in pretending.

How poor the words with which to tell
of an early morning, golden-lined,
the miracle that weaves its spell
with such abundance on the mind

Renate Scoble

Before I knew you

Before I knew you,
my thoughts encompassed you,
always finishing in a dream
with you centre stage.

You arrived,
bringing the richest years of my life.
The dry river that was me started flowing,
reaching flood with you.

At my side
you expunged my unfruitful hesitance;
you, the force yielding positive thoughts,
bearing happiness on its trail.

You are gone.

Why did merciless fate extinguish your blaze?
Where do I reach for you?
At the crossroads of doubt and desire
I place you amongst the stars,
to visit in my most wretched moments.