Val Parry

Collective pantoum     “by” Val Parry

Grasping the good parts
be with me now!
Harmony expands
if you yield to the rhythm.

Be with me now
share your secrets!
If you yield to the rhythm
with rich ringing bells

and share your secrets –
no flat-lining into normality!
With rich ringing bells
beat the blissful blight of being.

No flat-lining into normality
no pointless conformity!
Beat the blissful blight of being
until you hear your heart singing.

no pointless conformity –
indifference is a lethal emotion.
until you hear your heart singing,
muddling along,

indifference is a lethal emotion
harbouring silvery, powdery moths –
muddling along
you cannot go on.

Harbouring silvery, powdery moths
(which go to sleep too) when the light goes out
you yield to the rhythm
grasping the good parts.

Val Parry

Lost (on the Cape Flats)  – a villanelle

Your world you see like blindness in the night
stars blinkered in the dark expanding view
hidden from your own progress, lost to sight.

Harsh winds, unhampered, throw a sandy blight,
scraping at closed memories blowing through
your world.   You see like blindness in the night,

weeping, where darkness is your chosen light,
your shuttered stare as piercing as the blue
hidden from your own progress, lost to sight.

Open-eyed, your tears could wrong the right
of others’ struggle building lives anew –
your world you see like blindness in the night.

Most blind men feel, they laugh, they touch. They fight
grim fields of tin and plastic; but not you,
hidden from your own progress, lost to sight.

Beyond the days unchanging in their plight
small dreams, if looked for, can come true.
Your world you see like blindness in the night,
hidden from your own progress, lost to sight.

Val Parry


I’m going to bin it!  All of it! (well, maybe some – let’s see…)
I’ll stuff into plastic bags until my life is free.
Forget about the washing up!  All creativity
needs selfish space; let cockroaches
clean up the plates for me.

No need for shopping trolleys when there’s no time to cook –
my family can all eat out while I don my thinking-doek.
No space for guilt, or visitors, I can’t afford to look
as if I sit and knit all day
when writing my first book.

I’ll step down from my social work and put my friends on freeze!
I’ll set my sights on MY success and not on how to please.
Let’s sell the television!  Lock up the DVDs!
It’s all just so much rubbish for
a brain that needs release.

BUT –  there is one chore I can’t ignore when garbage is its gain
and that’s to feed my garden:  with compost, sweat and pain.
So, sure!  I’ll clear the clutter and excuses from my brain
but, if without life’s humus, will
I ever write again?

Val Parry

Let there be Candlelight – a triolight!

Earthed energy, centred fire
colours the progress of the day.
The candle draws from blackened wire
earthed energy. Centred fire
burns blue, a tiny pyre
of wax which, melted, cannot stay
earthed energy, whose centred fire
colours the progress of the day.

A halo clasps the innocent flame
blowing its waxy light around
as night trickles past. Less dark night’s name
when haloes clasp the innocent flame,
but, candle dear, are you to blame
when houses burn right to the ground?
A halo clasps the innocent flame
Blowing its waxy light around.

The progress of both day and night
is earthed by energy and fire,
the darkness lit by candlelight.
The progress of both day and night
burns on – gold and blue, and bright,
as reaching as a funeral pyre
in progress. Both day and night
are earthed by energy and fire.

Val Parry


Coffee made her hallucinate, tremble with excitement, kept her awake with fear. It was just like having a crush, being in love, lusting after something, except that it was virtual, surreal. But coffee was all she had right now, so what the heck. Espresso, cappuccino, latte, Nescafe, whatever, she loved it, craved it.

The woman threw away the caffeine dregs in her third polystyrene-to-go mug and, immensely cheered, lifted her eyes towards the greening horizon. She was a working single mother; coffee-inspired hope ruled her humdrum world of yesterday and today. Tomorrow was her fantasy, out there, beyond the unexplored line of sky, beyond the bus route.

“Morning, ma’am, full house today, find a seat if you can!”
The blurred sea of faces turned, closing ranks, their bodies becoming wider. All except one.

Wow! The woman’s heart contracted, heat rising as she fumbled her way clumsily to the back. The bus lurched, throwing her into the only empty space, right next to the stranger whose profile she had been admiring, covertly, all week. A dark Adonis, desirable as Belgian mocha.

The coffee percolating in her veins as the world regulated itself, she smiled at luck. Her knees shook with their closeness to him, her fingers ached with need. Touch him, stroke him. She anticipated his lips, his thick lashes half-closed with desire.

Instead she thanked him for steadying her fall.

The man leaned in, and grinned back at her. Leered, showing a wall of stained and broken teeth. “Like, that’s okay! anything for a lady like you. What’s your name, babe?” He squeezed her knee – and belched. High octane foulness billowed across the sudden stiffness of her face.

From now on I’m sticking to rooibos, she thought.