Koffie oppie plaas

Die dag het nou net begin.
Ons het al baie werk gedoen.
My pa maak koffie.
Hy maak die beste moerkoffie.
Ek weet nie hoekom nie,
maar sy koffie smaak.
Ons sit buite op die stoep.
Hierdie huis het my oupagrootjie gebou.
Ons drink ons koffie uit blikbekers,
met baie suiker
en melk van ons eie plaas,
vars en nou net gemelk.
Ons roer ons koffie.
Die klank klink,
teelepels teen bekerkante.
Die windpomp pyp
beweeg stadig
op en af, op en af, op en af, …
Die dammetjie het darem water.
Die droogte is dank God verby.
Die grond het bo die grond gesit.
Nou groei die gras
soos ‘n kombers op die aarde.
Ouma bring vir ons mossbolletjie beskuit
met anys.
Dit is vars, dit is soet en sag.
Dis lekker.

Kopiereg © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012. Alle regte voorbehou.


Mind in the sky

Copyright © Reena Walking.

Feet on the ground,
soles standing,
In the earth,

Stone structure,
from sweat built
with mortar,

The body towers,
a hearth to heat,
a bath to cleanse,
windows to breathe.
Arms spire.
Wind through hair.

The clock to tick,
the bell to ring
its longest chime,
when the sun is high,

Mind in the sky.
Moisture suspended,
wisps and shreds,
in a vapour veil,
like the Galaxy arm,
that holds us,
the blue planet.

Then the darkness,
all the way to the end,
which is …
the beginning …
of the universe.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012. All rights reserved.

This poem is linked to dVerse Poets Pub: Poetics—Visual-eyes-ing, Sunday 19 February 2012. DVerse Poets Pub is a place where poets and writers gather to celebrate poetry.

Reena Walking’s exquisite photography can be seen on her blog “missing moments”.


Ten years old was the new empire that replaced the old one of almost a thousand years. Snorting contempt in the face of fear. Metal hooves defeated on Saxon dust.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012. All rights reserved.


This was submitted to the NEW MINI STORY COMPETITION at Peirene Press on Facebook: “Write a historical novella in 3 sentences and 30 words. Most important: To get a sense of time and place across.” The competition is open until 29th February , 12 noon (GMT+1h).

Mother’s milk

Click to see photograph “Woman begging while breastfeeding, New Delhi, India.” Copyright © Bonnie Gruenberg.

At noon, on an April day in New Delhi, the weather was like a fever, hot on Rebecca’s brow, where pearls of sweat glistened and remained, because the air itself was so pregnant with its own sweat. Rebecca was sitting on an airport bus with her 18 month old on her breast, her husband next to her. The boy was thirsty, and restless after the long night flight from Johannesburg. They were traveling to another terminal so that they could board their connecting flight to Chennai.

Rebecca’s first image of India was through the smudged and scratched window of that bus. What she saw would remain more lucid in her memory than any photograph could ever capture. A thin young woman, poor, but nevertheless beautiful in her vibrant and colourful sari, held her baby in one arm, whilst it suckled, and at the same time she walked, holding her other arm out to beg. She approached anybody that she could, but most of them did not give her anything.

The sultry sun, the lack of sleep, did not hinder Rebecca’s mind from reflecting on what she was seeing. Her own life, she thought, was easy in comparison, but in its easiness it was hard. She was reminded of the times when her little boy was a baby and how she used to get up at the deadest hours of night, because she had not gotten it right to lie down and breastfeed him in bed. To while these quiet hours she used to watch documentary films on television.

On one of these nights an image of India would become indelibly etched in Rebecca’s mind. The documentary film in particular featured women in India working in a stone quarry. There was a woman, also thin, young, and poor, bashing stones with one hand, while the other hand held her baby, which was suckling as the mother toiled; hard physical labour. Rebecca was seeing this from an armchair with a cushion here and a cushion there, all arranged just so; so that she could get the geometry for breastfeeding just right. Success was the suckling sounds of her baby snug at her breast. And from this vantage point Rebecca watched a woman in poverty, who knew how to do it, this breastfeeding, and who was getting on with her work, with life, with no cushions, no maternity leave, and no time to catch up lost sleep. The most important thing, Rebecca thought then, and now—is for richer or for poorer, that a baby should be in its mother’s arms and drinking mother’s milk.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012. All rights reserved.

This is a completely true story, where Rebecca is me, and the little boy is my eldest son, who is now 12 years old.

The Megalo Don of Babylon

The don can be man or woman,
Herewith called he,
but could just as well be she.
The don hears the truth not.
For him denial is a river in Egypt.
He buys his friends,
rescuing them from catastrophes
to bind them to him.
He makes the rules,
because his hands are in the gold.
He cannot keep your secrets,
but he withholds information from you.
He speaks to you as though he is plural.
He employs thieves to do his dirty work.
He thinks he is genetically superior,
and you’re not.
He does not pay taxes, or alms to the poor,
but will sell what is not yet his or what does not yet exist.
The average man will bail him out
when the bottom falls out of his money system.

But with all the politricksing,
he can never take away the poet’s irie,
because the poet does not need all the things the don needs,
the poet needs only his voice,
but his voice is threatening,
because it blows like a whistle.

But the don can’t kill the poet,
because the poet will become a martyr,
And through the poet’s death,
all the people will hold the power.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2012. All rights reserved.

This poem is linked to dVersepoets Open Link Night, Tuesday 7 February 2012. DVerse Poets Pub is a place where poets and writers gather to celebrate poetry.

A taste of Siberia

The polar winds have brought us a taste of the Siberian tundra. The snow glistens and glitters on the rolling Saxon hills, looking like dunes in the desert. We move across one of the fields, the smallest two children being pulled on the sleigh and the oldest child learning to cross-country ski for the first time. Every now and then he lies in the snow with his legs and skis crossed. There is a happy din in the silent snow. We, the parents, trudge through the thick snow. The sun bathes us in its golden light and warms us, even threatens to burn us. The sky is blue and the landscape is picturesque all the way to the distant horizon in Bohemia. To play in a morsel of Siberia, together, to us a mirthful moment, but it is not enjoyed without considering the hardship of those who live and toil in the real Siberia.

Culinary revenge

The chef stood there, in a cloud of smoke and abstraction. He was wondering what people were going to make of the sausages that night. The meat was not at all organic. There was way too much fat on it, but he had managed to make fine lard from it … infused it with three kinds of paprika, coriander, cumin and saffron. From the bones he made a delectable broth. Many lonely midnight hours were spent mincing the meat. He would be feeding those who had sold meat of swill-eating animals to the restaurant all these years at an “organic” price. [100 words]

This was submitted to [100 word story] for their monthly photo prompt in January 2012. My story was not selected, but you can read the winning story here.


Have no fear when thy spear is near,
but be gracious and sincere,
heart to heart, eye to eye, and ear to ear,
and never veer to the rear.

Be a warrior on the frontier,
defend what is dear, and confront here,
turning only when all is clear,
shake hands in triumph and cheer.

Copyright © Quirina Roode-Gutzmer 2009. All rights reserved.