Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Find the notes sweeter for all that time ...

For Norman's 64th birthday I made him a photo album.

It was his first.

Although he was shy of photos of himself in old age, he pored over it for hours.

I prefaced the album with a poem I'd written several months previously.

Later we went for a truly crazy spin on the 'Red Devil' on the contour path on Hog 1.


Norman's 64th - 3rd October 2013

One of Norman's favourite photos of himself

Going up the contour path on Hog 1

Monday, 7 May 2018

Helping Hand

This is another preliminary note that forms part of the story that has formed quite a few sort-of-poems telling the years. It says so much about the man that Norman was, the spirit he still is.

Helping Hand

When in late autumn I resumed my travels
back to you

– pursuing my new life,
our beckoning future –

the first night was troubled
by anxieties 
I lay in wakeful doom;
mind rewove the day's events
and past months' tests –
a manic loom that utterly refused me rest.

But you
in sleep
turned on your back
and took my hand
to squeeze it

several times
unconscious, deep in dreamland's instinct caring.

You warmed away my woman's quakes
and deftly eased my frowning fears –

Since then my trust
is sworn into,
palm-protected by
our pairing –

the fabric of our fingers
joining our best years.

6th April 2011

Thursday, 3 May 2018

First meeting

'twas good to get pics I've never seen from Norman's publisher, Jim Phelps of Echoing Green Press - taking me back to the day I first met Norman in the flesh: 18th October 2009, when he read from Triptych in Fish Hoek and to my joy gobbled the cheese sticks I had brought along.

Norman reads from Triptych 18/10/2009, Fish Hoek


exactly a year ago
was our first meeting.

Over my hips I'd pulled my smoke-blue skirt;
over my breasts an old, pale pink knit-top
covered by cardigan;
my feet in Tsonga slip-ons -

altogether toned down,
I carried that basket of cheese sticks
you devoured.

I was afraid of my own insignificance,
so I avoided you immediately.

Finally, though, after kissing all the people I knew,
I had to turn
to the presence
of you
behind me.

You took my hand
in both of yours,
as if it were an honour -
oh, you were beautiful!

I looked neither up nor down, but
straight into your face
of lines touched everywhere by light,
and your loose hair a-tumble.
Surprised that you were
short and humble.

Then you gave your reading;
silent Jenny pointed lens;
Jim's wine turned to praise inside his mouth
as he besang your poems;
Izzie - in cow-patterend pants -
went on about life, and the past, and ja,
no, if you get off your motorbike
to actually write down the lines that come into your head -
I admire that, you know:
you must be the genuine thing.
Hugh quested -
- while Peter, Paul, Lewis and me
sat round listening.

In front of everyone you bent
down to reach
your toes
- unselfconscious as an old elephant,
I thought (and later wrote) -

We mingled; spoke; I stared
at your shirt with words on it
- yours - Alchemy -
stared rudely through
to sense the leanness
of your middle region;

you said that Horus
- your email name -
is first flash of dawn -
and I wanted to say

so much that I didn't.
Paul and you exchanged books
- Dog Latin for Comeback -
you asked me, too, to sign,
so I scribbled 'Hello!'
beside the Bodhi Books logo
(designed out of the shadows
caught inside a photo) -
a small figure with inky arm and phallus greeting.

I offered you the last
cheese stick you took
saying, 'You're an angel.'
And I thought.,
'Well - at least I can make sticks
to feed a hungry man.'

- Yes. That is how
our story began.

(18th October 2010)

Norman, Paul Mason & me