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Author Archive

Time measured

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Monday, September 30th, 2013 by Bev Reeler

In this place where the mountains meet the sea
time is measured in millennium
the slow sculpturing of billions of tides
rounding, shifting, and emptying the rocks
leaving caves and towering giants
standing watchers
who have seen the rise and fall of oceans over millions of years

time measured in a dry river bed – raising and dropping its floor
in the changing fortunes of the rainy season

time measured by towering trees
still standing watch
in the centre of cities
where buildings rise and fall
and people hurry from meeting, to office, to shop, to pick up the kids, to home, to evening jaunt

the time it takes grow a tree
to get hold of the plumber
to microwave the meal

time measured in the seconds  required to start the computer

the instant conversation across the planet
weaving a new web in a new space

this is the time my grandchildren chose to come into this world
closing their eyes under a tree in the garden
beneath the mountain
and waking in a shopping mall
bright lights, loud music, bustling people, trollies, flashing colours
and they are there with un-judging enthusiasm
for this is part of their world

my time is of two generations before they were born
I have  watched my children become parents
trees grow
river beds rise and fall
cliffs move
trees fall
buildings rise
and sand dunes stretch out to the sea

and now I watch these new children
born into a world holding seemingly limitless visions and concepts and possibilities
and the emergent recognition of the damage we inflict
on our evolving system

how hard will it be to hold in their hearts
the mountains that watch over them
the trees that embrace them between root and topmost twig
to stay rooted in the millennium it takes
to round a rock by the sea?


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Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 by Bev Reeler

The truth is . . .
I feel the spirit of nature thinning
deep in my soul

the slender mongoose who used to run the paths on Monavale
no more
our bi-annual sighting of cobras hasn’t happened for a year and a half
our family of bush babies is reduced to two lonely males

the properties around us – that had been left to the wilderness
have been sold
the habitat that has been home to the wild things – who gifted us with their presence
is being halved

I write to the sound of chopping trees
piles of brick and sand appear along our road

this is the present we are being called to live alongside
this place just a fractal
reflecting our current relationship with our mother home

the truth carries with it a deep pain
aching cracks
like the fissured earth being fracked for the future

this hill, this magical place
the wildness that grew our children
already diminished
a different home for our grandchildren
who will know nothing other than this present
and old stories of ‘what used to be’

the truth is . . .
my spirit sometimes falters at the challenge before us
to keep the balance of the beauty of this present
this magic we are being called to bring forth

knowing of what is being lost

looking at the world through clear eyes

Let me see with clear eyes

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Monday, September 16th, 2013 by Bev Reeler

Eli ran up the path at 7.30 this morning
eyes lit with enthusiasm and anticipation

‘Gee-tar!  where’s your ‘puter Gogo?’

He sits at the table outside
(patient of my fumbling relationship with computers)
and watches/listens to Grandpa Elliot singing ‘Stand by Me’

Mellow-honeyed tones of the Blues float into the garden

Every fiber of his being in focused attention
each change in tone noted
each new instrument named
‘Saxophone! Washboard!  Gee –tar! Cello! Gee-tar with no hole! ‘lectric gee-tar Gogo!’

Oh to see with such fresh eyes!
to hear with such two and a half year old newness
such unpolluted pleasure

I woke this morning with tired eyes
clouded by old stories and repeated patterns

brought into the present
through the clear eyes of my grandson
as the sun washes a blessing into the morning garden
and the new flush of scarlet flowers is no longer last year’s repeat
but this year’s miracle

Touching elephants

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Friday, August 23rd, 2013 by Bev Reeler

The first night a large bull visited us at supper
delicately stepping the narrow space between us and our drinks table
we sat motionless, breathless,
as he examined the mugs with his trunk
and picked seeds off the table

for the next 3 days they were a daily presence
quietly visiting each one of us
close enough for us to see the hairs on the back of their feet
their eyelashes
immense bulks reaching for leaves over our heads
close enough for us to watch the infinite gracefulness of their trunks
selecting seed pods around our chairs

and we knew a deep sense our own vulnerability
and the incredible gift we were being given
standing here at the edge
where our unquestioned control of the world is reduced to the flick of a trunk
our small worries of arrangements and agreements
are of nothing
in this wide wilderness of the Zambezi valley

we were told they had never been this close before

it felt as if they were learning us…
what did they think
as they smelt our cups?
tasted our shoes?

do they know we are the ones
who are playing havoc with their world
bringing our fuel exhausts and plastic and bottles
invading this wild place
slowly making it into our play ground

we stand at the edge of the wilderness
both the problem and the worshiper
awed by the generosity of its sharing
and the gentleness of these wild giants

Looking for a way to walk into tomorrow

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Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 by Bev Reeler

the AU and SADAC have endorsed this strange charade!

Congratulations pour in from the region:
Zuma, after all his posturing, positioning and promises
of a position of morality and justice
welcomes the old liberation father back with open arms

A complete denial of the voices of the people
who lined up in trusting, peaceful queues
often patiently joining new lines in other places
as their registration areas had been changed
resignedly being turned away
unable to get transport

unwittingly validating this farce of freedom
lending a complete mockery to the democratic process

today is the tomorrow of our outrage:
‘how dare they ?’

seeking places to point our blame:
‘why haven’t ‘they’ done something?’
‘taken to the streets?’
‘demanded a re-run?’

voicing our self-condemnation:
‘ we Zimbabweans are always like this – we are so  passive’
‘we don’t stand together’
‘we can’t fight’
‘we should have known’
‘this time we had hope’
‘we are too tired to do this again’

and our fear:
‘there will be reprisals’  
as we hear the first reports of displacements of people from their homes

In the face of such a blatant daylight robbery
we easily slip back to where we started
a sense of despair
a place of fear
and fight and blame of team A versus team B
winner and looser
the good and the bad

back to seeking solutions from an old reactions
which birthed the source of the problem
a frustrated  call  to the young men and mothers and fathers
back into the fray
to once again be beaten and assaulted and imprisoned

but as tomorrow becomes tomorrow
we begin to see that situations around us have changed…
we are NOT the same
we are not back there where we were before

we have learned so much in this time

we have finally understood that political leaders and parties are not the source of our redemption
(for the abuse of power and abandonment of the people comes from the best of our heroes)

we have learned that poverty and violence, and witnessing of violence, is destroying our lives
and most particularly those of our children
inflicting on them the battle wounds of yesterday

today is the tomorrow
when we learn that it is us
who must take responsibility
no longer to wait for our recovery to come from the hands of unknown redeemers
to mend our spirits/our places/our spaces

and today
we remember that this work has already begun
everywhere …

this time was different
we have recorded every step of this unlawful process
we have voiced our findings and spoken our frustrations
we have used public media
we have written of the inconsistencies and travesties
spoken our truth
been heard across the world

this time,
we are different
for in the yesterdays of enduring the hardships of unemployment and displacement
we began to come together again as ordinary people
began witness our own stories
and heal ourselves and our communities

we have been to workshops learning of our civic rights/human rights/women’s rights/food rights
learned the language of conflict resolution and sustainable dialogue

we have begun to take care of our own AIDS victims
begun circles of support to take care of our orphaned children
begun community gardens growing organic vegetables

we have begun the work in small circles of disabled women recycling plastic into wonderful bags
and in large community circles with our leaders from across the ‘political divide’
circles where headmen no longer sit outside/above his people – but on the rim of the same circle
we have held dance days and community days
and  days with the youth from both parties
and we have seen that we have been able to cross the cracks and gaps and deep divides
that have disabled us

and seen ourselves grow into wider people
able to look at things from a longer perspective

perhaps today is the tomorrow we have been waiting for
as we walked  through the interminable grey cloud
learning there is no real A and B
but a mixed blessing of dark and light

looking for a way to live the responsibility of empowered people

looking for a way to walk into tomorrow

Zimbabwe post elections

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Friday, August 2nd, 2013 by Bev Reeler

A deep silence has settled
no jubilant cheering crowds
no smiled greetings from vendors at traffic lights/on the streets/in the shops

just a stunned disbelieving quietness
just deep, tired  lines etched on the kind , caring faces around me

today …

and we turn into tomorrow
knowing that we are still here
just where we are meant to be
that ours is not to choose to turn and face the wall
but to keep stepping with grace
over stony ground

that we are here with deep learning
each with a different calling
but with the knowing that our greatest work
is to bring peace
into our families and communities and children

is to stay connected to what is real and beautiful
the happy voice of the young boy named Perfect playing next door
and the wide eyed welcoming smile of my grandson

to keep stepping with grace
over stony ground