Ilze Olckers

Mountain Ghazal

In my chest there is a mauve poem
I can find in me many earth-coloured poems

Canyons are the colours of clay ochre red sand
Mountains are blue purple and from above grey-black poems

The only green on the slopes are the stone pines standing
slightly awry with their crowns dignified against the wind poems

or the emerald vein right at the very vortex of the fissure
throbbing silently once every million years a poem

I am this vein keeping the earth alive,  I am those crowns
sheltering sacred circles of petrified life poems

I am the koan of the canyon – all the tears and struggle
of those unanswerable story poems

I, Ilze, am all the poems written about all the mountains
And all the joy and inner knowing of all those wonder poems

Karin Andersen

My soul is a scrap of paper blown by the wind,
my cold tears have named themselves sorrow and loss.
I lie awake and listen to the crying wind.

Come beloved, walk with me through our secret garden
where sparrows gather, waiting for your crumbs to fall.
The petals of summer’s last rose flee from the wind.

They tell me that God has one hundred and one names
my tongue stumbles over saying one. In the face
of His glory I am but a reed in the wind.

The aloe’s spiked flowers pierce the grey clouds, blood red.
The waterfall merrily counts the steps to the sea.
Seagulls soar, suspended overhead in the wild wind.

Winter settles deep in my bones and makes a home,
My love is a flame grown cold and grey with waiting.
Even the brown tortoise turns his back to the wind.

If I surrender to this voice where will it lead?
The ship has lost its captain and blows rudderless
across the sea, hounded by a following wind.

In the calm after the storm the birds sing a new day.
Golden sunlight slants warmth through an open window,
one cloud still hangs, motionless, waiting for the wind.

Cathy Stagg

Come on, come up here, let me share my views;
some were shaped by mentors, others are mine alone.

Persistent roots push through the granite of injustice,
but the crying wind of self-doubt is heard by me alone.

An avalanche of anger unleashes words that wound,
they injure people who think this happens to them alone.

Fires rage like traumas, fascinating, we can’t look away,
are we mountains of strength in a crisis, or frail, and alone?

Truth can’t be unsaid, harsh criticism can burn.
But, through the charred ground, a green shoot emerges alone.

and when we see the sun sparkling on an agate of wit,
we can pick up the phone, reach out and share it.

Gushing hysterical laughter, helpless as a waterfall.
Finally the realisation: No, we are not all alone.

What’s the point of knowledge in a rock-like skull?
Cathy, you must share it, even if the writing gets done alone.

Joelle Chesselet

Mountain mantra

Hidden from the hunting gaze of the black eagle
the secret lies in the cloud that shrouds
my foothills in a mantra

I am the song of crystal water
The sub-sonic smelting rumble at the
core of a mantra

Brushed by the tradewinds wild and fair
I am the russet restio hair
O! earth’s restless mantra

I found footing between two ancient random pebbles
unseen in the fecund kloof
of a mountain’s mantra

Waiting for the parting of your crags
I, Jaël, am the deep black-green of
Love’s dark mantra

Sally Ball

Mountain Memories

Friends gathered together in the waning twilight
murmur memories in the flickering firelight.

Cliffs of silver crags soar skywards;
sigh secrets in the soft starlight.

Petals peep between beds of spongy moss;
gleam pale in the brooding moonlight.

Far horizons warmed by a gentle touch;
peaks glow gold in early-morning-light.

Streams skip over stones and slow-slide into pools;
dragonflies dance in jewelled sunlight.

Who am I?  Carried across years and continents:
Sally, giving glory to He who is Light.

Jaine Hannath

Lion’s Head (Leeuwen Kop)
From Eastern Boulevard
she lies like a majestic Goddess
warm and burnished by the morning sun

Slowly she reveals herself to the City

Created by forces deep within the earth
her form she took from the winds and the sea
that choose to pound or caress her

Much like an avid lover they have left their mark

She glows – rounded, swelling
pregnant with energy and life –
life that she holds within and upon her

She hosts flora and fauna as best she can

Mornings I have sat on her sun-warmed lap
contained, comfortable as in my favorite chair
Only once I dared not tread her usually welcoming path

Was she angry or was it me?

Her ravines hold my heart
her rivulets carry my blood
She is authentic and bold

Am I?

Gertrude Fester

Gertrude’s Ghazal

What is this dangerous spiralling inside my self?
I am searching for the Stillness of granite, of water, of self

The mountain purples in morning sun, soft sun’s caress on rock
Where is this Stillness of granite, of water, of self?

Inside me is a Samurai sword, piercing pain
I gasp for the Stillness of granite, of water, of self

I am an oak leaf dancing, a pine’s rigid spindle
floating, searching for the Stillness of granite of water of self

I am a gushing river rushing, a meandering stream of melting snow
Confusion abounds still, no Stillness of granite, of water, of self

I’m a swallow merrily singing, a fish eagle swooping on prey
I grope, strive, deprived of Stillness of granite, of water, of self

Yellowwood, elm, fynbos, iris, orchid, protea
Accepting my diversity I reach for the Stillness of granite, of water, of self

The mountain maroons in orange twilight. In the warm embrace of the hazy moon
I celebrate. I am Stillness, granite, water, myself

Deirdre Hewitson

You never know what’s going to crawl from her, or when (you have to think)
In her sunny, fresh-aired, clear-visioned spot at the very top (she thinks).

Then she falls, smashing down and losing bits of herself in painful chips,
ending up in a her-sized dent, bits of self scattered amongst the gravel (to think).

Now a smooth, interesting, though not really pretty pebble they all want to have,
and next, a solid and lazy rock warming herself in the sun (forgetting to think).

Soon to be kicked up with the dirt and sand, left even further behind than when she started,
again becoming the loose, ungrounded gravel (too painful to think).

And, sporadically, surprisingly, a top rock, though never a king rock,
but Deirdre would rather be home to snakes and skinks (I think).

Chantal Stewart

Try to catch the second when the sun changes into shadow,
lapping against river reeds, obsequious in friendliness.

Holding myself together like hands with tightly interlaced fingers
I search for the greyness of consistency between the extremes.

I am, reluctantly, the rock, the strong one
To remain in the inbetween.

I am the sunlight and the shadow
I am the leftover stubble of a bush

Popping up playful bubbles as I pass over rough patches,
I droop, cowed by age and circumstance.

Lesley Cox

Withstanding heat, cold, rain, wild winds
strong, steadfast, this immortal range of mountains

Ephemeral, swirled in the mists of time and memory
quietly majestic, forever regal, these mountains

Mystical, awe inspiring, remotely distant,
purple against sunset skies, jagged mountains

A stark reality in an illusory dimension
snow covered granite, quartz, ice compacted mountains.

There are lessons to be learned from mountains
ever present, taken for granted, eternal mountains

Anne Woodborne

My Mountain Faces

I watch the passage of the sun and moon-face
with stony eyes set in my implacable face.

Long ago, fire and fumes belched from my open maw,
my molten self erupted to free my dragon face.

Now, in my mountain steadfastness there is a core
that can never be eroded; a granite face.

My careful mountain goat picks its surefooted way,
then bursts over a waterfall with exuberant face.

In joyful playfulness, I gurgle over river beds,
ephemeral morning mists soften my craggy face.

White cloud pom-poms dance from peak to pinnacle,
a haphazard waltz to celebrate my frivolous face.

The rising sun warms my ancient crone-stones,
stains in slow saffron blushes my silhouette face.

The south wind feeds the inferno with burning breath,
Anne is the creeping snake fleeing the wildfire’s face.

Winnie Thomson

Mountain of Pain

I am many-faceted and, I hope, fascinating;
but now, my outer covering of politeness and charm is burned away.

The bushes blaze in uncontrolled, hellish light
Afraid, I feel the mountain falling on me. And charm is burned away.

Can I apologise- again- or do I let it lie?
Mea Culpa- how can I put out this fire of tactlessness? The charm is burned away.

Praying for rain, for water, I weep, vulnerable and weak;
Water  will douse the flames. The charm is burned away.

The baptism of fire is literal and real;
new growth now- the mountain recreated.

Yet still the scars are there.
In Winifred, a red point of pain.

Sukaina Walji

I am many

I am many sided faces. An oddity.
Which one you find depends on how you approach.

A wet winter, tears of waterfalls gushing down,
to melt into larger pool of sadness.

The fog comes over, covering me,
you look, straining to see curves and outlines.

A fire of anger leaves me burnt and gasping,
I rise from my knees and wipe away the rage.

Spring, tears dry and colours shoot up,
a necklace of daisy jewels, a pair of bluebell shoes.

The fog lifts, I emerge from shadow to light.
Sukaina. Instantly recognisable, a precious oddity

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Varsha Patel

Shards of Mountain

A mountain of girl is desperate to be small.
A mountain girl is eroded to sand. Made small.

The sand girl screams to sound like a mountain.
Her mouth is Empty. The flatlanders keep her voice small.

The sand girl eats alone. The flatlanders, they point they
throw sticks and stones. Shove her down. Easy, she’s small.

The sand girl is hard. Invisible. Glass. Nameless.
The flatlanders throw bricks. Biceps big. Cocks small.

The sand girl shatters into millions of pieces.
All of them small.

The flatlanders cut their feet as they pass over shards of her.
The shards put together into something – something not quite small.

I haven’t seen you around before, what’s your name? the flatlanders ask
after the gluing is done.




And I sure ain’t small.

Sarah-Anne Raynham

Story of my life in five minutes

when I was little
the mountain was my cloak
as I grew bigger I did not need it anymore

I was solid
offering my sides to climbers
They traversed me but sometimes they fell and died

It hurt me so much that I made a rule
beware of me, the mountain
and its cloak

Penelope van Maasdyk

Many mountains. I am

Thirsty roots suck life from earth
Rain that falls seeps through my veins

I lift my feet, pull up, resist the ground
The water creeps.

It dilutes me, cuts me, makes me weak
porous. I am rooted in water, and air

that rises gives life to plants, gives none to me
I shrivel. Close the gaps where darkness forms

Set loose through cracks, the barefoot hippy
freefalls, catches rainbows, leaps and springs

with yelps on jagged rocks beneath
I catch the birds and set the water free

I am old. I am wise. I am high
I am all the flowers and the trees. They are me

I am unpredictable. I am power. I am many
Penny, you are seen by all.

But you are things no one can see.

Linda Price

You commit me

Inside sallow skin, blood boils a bright brew
Outside, my svelte seal pelt, stretches sour silence

Slimy to touch, I slip through your fingers
My smile is blue, pink and peachy, sly silence

Midnight murmurs the hour, you stare at stars
Moaning moon melts beam, solitary silence

My hunger hunts and ravages your plains
Words, curled and complicated, stolen silence

Multiple madness inside plastic file
LINDA, capitals, wrapped, in shiny silence

Janis Peart

Mountain spirit

Breathe, I want to meditate, for Stillness and a Quiet Heart.
The true self will emerge, they tell me, on the out breathe.

I breathe, but I know there are many selves I could own.
Was it my false self that said yes when my hidden self screamed no?

My Selves are as abundant as the cracks and fissures on Table Mountain.
Connected, each nook and cranny renders an aspect of the whole.

Table Mountain, an iconic symbol in the family parade, Harbinger of the Mountain Spirit,what has been endured and what has been accomplished.

Raised by forces deflected downwards before they break the surface. Generational layers formed by stresses and pressures. My surviving self.

Breathing with Mountain Spirit, I am bound by eternal images that begin and end all things. Sheer rock face repels further penetration.

Isobel Terry

The mountain

I am on fire ragging into the darkening sky,
the molten fluid beneath my bedrock smoulders on my skin.

I am solid silence, a reference to your orientation
I go nowhere, I go to the beginning of time.

I was born at the bottom of the sea, the whales sing my song.
I am magnificence petrified on the foreshore

conceived at a place where lands collide,
liquid hardening with air when the seas departed.

I am minerals of resistance on a continent drifting;
an anchoring of layers, granite, sandstones and shale

yet when you are very close to me I am not.
I am many and I am one. I am nameless, given many names.

I know the names of you and her. I am many.
I am the secret place to which she fled,

the rocky path up which she climbs,
the steep sided canyon into which she falls.

A gasp of breath, her muscles stretch and strain,
those strong arms that washed clothes in my roaring stream.

I am her gorge, a place to hide from her lecherous master.
I am a cloud-swept dream covering her with a veil.

I see your chiselled face in the half light
and hear a howling of sorrow as day breaks.

I am a grave that holds her bones,
grains of minute tone embedded in rock

and lifting them towards the summer moon
then I shall speak, not of self, but of molecules of story.

I will blacken out the sky, darkening to a shadow,
you will hear a scream, stiffened by silence, Isobel are you listening ?

Brigitte Murphy

Faceted Mountain

Like a mountain who has four faces
I am East and West, North and South
I am several people, I have many facets,
I have sunny sides and gloomy ones.
One senses the dawn of emotions,
another explodes with the riot of sunset,
one is dark and never sees the sun,
another turns dullness into pearls of laughter.
One of my mountainside is all ragged rocks and hard to climb,
the other, gentle slopes, green pastures and the ding-dong of bells.
East, West, North and South
I am a faceted mountain.