Marilyn Schoonderwoerd
Calliope?

12 July 2020

Just as I thought our words had gone
here comes Stephen
extolling the virtues of nature’s paradise.

My muse has retreated
into the recesses of my mind
She sits and watches.

She knows the turmoil underneath
but observes the veneer of calm.
Days of waiting, days of limbo.

so She is quiet. “Nothing to see here”,
She claims, “Nothing to write home about”.
The irony of that last thought almost tempts her out.

But no. She is silent still.

You asked for advice

24 April 2020

You asked for advice, Stephen
But I have none
For I have not worked it out yet.

But I can tell you this:
When you stand where once you lived
You cannot see me
But I stand with you.
I see the empty space,
The brown desolate scar of land
Which once cradled your home and your heart.
I see the emptiness where there should be
The treasures of your life.

When you stand where once you lived
You cannot hear me
But your silent sobs are echoes of my own.
There should be laughter and fun
Teasing, tears ,
The chatter of children,
Barbecues and wine,
Not these constant sounds
Of Machines still scraping away
Someone’s else’s past

When you stand where you once lived
Even though you don’t know me
You know that I am there
Because I feel the same.
The fire at least,
Unforgiving and relentless
Left some vestige of our lives
Some sad and broken fragments
Which tell our stories.
How much more cruel
This final act of eradication!

Contrasts

1 April 2020

Conjola Park
is more than a small boy’s paradise right now.
Everywhere you look
those yellow machines
lifting, pushing
scraping, scrunching.

Big trucks and cranes
diggers, dozers
backhoes and bobcats:
enough Big Boys Toys
to keep any male enthralled.

Mesmerising to watch:
metal sheets
folded like pastry
with careful precision.
These guys are
the Sara Lees of roofing.

All this feels strange
after three months of quiet.
This flurry of action,
the crashes and bangs
which echo up and down the hill
which we all call home.

So much activity, so many people.
And elsewhere, in our self isolated world
we stay apart,
maintaining the distance
when we venture out.

The quiet has retreated
to the ‘normal’ world,
where shops stand empty.
No time or place for conversation
outside the safety of home.

But here,
where our homes once stood
we see busy-ness and bustle,
patches of brown earth amid the green.
A different landscape:
Contrast in time and place.

Kintsugi

23 March 2020

Have you heard
Of Kintsugi?

The Japanese art
Putting together
The broken pieces
Of pottery
With gold

A bowl
Not broken, renewed
With scars of golden thread,
Now more beautiful
Stronger
More precious than what was before

Because it tells of life
Of past experiences
Of resilience
All that it was
Yet more than it was

It seems to me
That we are like that bowl
Broken
By fire and flood and now
A cruel virus
Keeping us from one another

But we found the gold, before
As we looked after one another
We all saw the beauty
The golden threads pulling us together
Covering scars of pain with something wonderful
Our sense of humanity and community.

When this is over
I hope we will see
Kintsugi in us all
Each of us
And all of us
Renewed,
Beautiful
With our lives more precious than before.

Musings

22 March 2020

I think I could handle the "c" word
A little better it it hadn't been for the "f" word
Because then
I'd have my garden full of fruit and veggies
Enough to share, even.
With my well stocked pantry
Freezers full of mince and other meats,
And last year's excess produce
I'd be sweet!
Mostly.

I'd even have that precious toilet paper
Well stocked, not hoarded
In anticipation
Of our grandkids' vacation
( Pre- Christmas shopping frenzy
To avoid the post- Christmas one! )
So no issue with the tissue then.

Instead, I stand in my allotted 4 sq metres
Along with all the other oldies
At an hour more fit for snoozing
(Or perhaps a run on the beach for the more fit)
To push a disinfected trolley
And secure what is on the shelves today

My tiny "holiday" kitchen
doesn't hold enough
Yet there was not enough to fill it
Yesterday
So back to do it all again
Tomorrow
So much for social isolation!

If it wasn't for the "f"word
I wouldn't mind the change of seasons
Just reach for that jacket, or jumper or jeans
As the weather turns cool
But I look in my wardrobe and wonder
How much longer will summer things do?
Before, there were gloves and scarves,
Trackies and coats, warm slippers and shoes
Easy choices taken away.

"You won't need many warm clothes if you stay at home"
Agreed - but you need some
And some is more than none whichever way you do the maths.
So another dilemma
Clothes buying while social distancing -
Not easy!
Online? Fraught with challenges-
Not the right fit, fabric not right
Good on the model but not on me.
Just another frustration of "f" and *c*.

Musings

22 March 2020

I think I could handle the "c" word
A little better it it hadn't been for the "f" word
Because then
I'd have my garden full of fruit and veggies
Enough to share, even.
With my well stocked pantry
Freezers full of mince and other meats,
And last year's excess produce
I'd be sweet!
Mostly.

I'd even have that precious toilet paper
Well stocked, not hoarded
In anticipation
Of our grandkids' vacation
( Pre- Christmas shopping frenzy
To avoid the post- Christmas one! )
So no issue with the tissue then.

Instead, I stand in my allotted 4 sq metres
Along with all the other oldies
At an hour more fit for snoozing
(Or perhaps a run on the beach for the more fit)
To push a disinfected trolley
And secure what is on the shelves today

My tiny "holiday" kitchen
doesn't hold enough
Yet there was not enough to fill it
Yesterday
So back to do it all again
Tomorrow
So much for social isolation!

If it wasn't for the "f"word
I wouldn't mind the change of seasons
Just reach for that jacket, or jumper or jeans
As the weather turns cool
But I look in my wardrobe and wonder
How much longer will summer things do?
Before, there were gloves and scarves,
Trackies and coats, warm slippers and shoes
Easy choices taken away.

"You won't need many warm clothes if you stay at home"
Agreed - but you need some
And some is more than none whichever way you do the maths.
So another dilemma
Clothes buying while social distancing -
Not easy!
Online? Fraught with challenges-
Not the right fit, fabric not right
Good on the model but not on me.
Just another frustration of "f" and *c*.

Going Home

5 March 2020

Friends call,
People you meet on the street
All ask “How are you going?
Are you doing OK?”
I’m just the same, ask the same question ,
and we give the same answer.
Because most of the time it is true.
We’re OK, we’re getting there.
We’re waiting and trying to make plans
There’s still ups and downs, but you know.
But at times, I think,
What if I told you really.
Would you understand?
I just want to go home now,
I’ve had enough of cooking in someone else’s kitchen
Enough of looking for things in the wrong places.
I want to stand at my wardrobe and choose what to wear,
Familiar, loved and comfortable.
I’m over the the limits of “holiday dressing”
Everything on high rotation and lots not quite right.
What’s going to happen when it starts to get cold?
I want to eat from my plates,
Sit on my verandah with a coffee in my favourite cup
Watch the boats on the lake,
Listen to my chickens cackle as if there’s some kind of joke
That we are not part of.
I want to eat eggs, tomatoes and berries
Not from the shop but out of my garden
Seeds sown and watered
Trees nurtured and nurturing
Sharing produce with friends.
My brain plays tricks,
Reminding me I haven’t pruned the fruit trees,
Or planted the autumn veg
It’s almost sweet pea time-
St Patrick’s day.
If I don’t get home soon it will be too late.
I want to pack away Christmas
Trees, Santas, Angels, Reindeer
Reminders of family, and friends and travel
So many miles and so many years.
January is long gone
But so are they.
It’s irrational, I know
But I still want to go
Home.

Perspectives

21 February 2020

My young neighbour stands at the corner of her ruined home
To look across the line of its past;
A line of “firsts”.
A short line, but still the pain is sharp and raw.
So she turns the other way, and sees the line of its future.
It stretches far.
A beautiful home, and strong.
It will nurture her family, keep it safe.
It will hold within its walls
all the memories they make
and the reality of dreams.
The promise it holds is bright enough to eclipse,
perhaps,
the pain of loss.
I stand on my corner
looking down the long line of loss.
It stretches far, a sesquicentenary
to my great grandfather’s book,
inscribed with his name
and destined for a granddaughter-
a shared passion across five generations.
Framed on the walls
displayed on the shelves
stored in boxes-
the fragments of how we live,and love.
The bright promises still in our neighbours’ future
can be traced in the ashes of our loss.
A deep and painful shade is cast
over all that is left.
So I too turn at that corner
to look the other way.
Not such a long line
( after ‘three score and ten’).
There is sunshine here
But the shadows remain.

Tomorrow

19 February 2020

A phone call
A meeting
A walk and a chat.
We are given a form to read and to sign
Permission there on the dotted line
Now waiting
For Someone
To take it away.
We are given a chance to look one more time
Hoping yet still for that precious find
Constricted
Conflicted
It’s now such a mess
The metal’s all rust and the ash is all mush
Ugliness contrasts with green so lush
But soon,
we’ll be clear,
A clean slate, like they say
“Time to move on”-
Well, there’s no other way,
No matter how we might wish that it was as before
Reality says it’s not there anymore.
Just a ghost, or echoes of times in our past
Which can find their way in a new home with heart.