To the Aquarium and Back (or Ten Memories of Durban)

The promenade took
twenty minutes to tramp along.
It took me.

Sand in corners,
beggars and gigglers, such different speeds
of life and a day.

At the end
I lay along as sharks swam longer
than me end-to-end.

In the sun
the curving turquoise noise of kids
ran dense.

Then I walked
past jolly gelatinous girls barely held
in loose black bikinis.

Thanked a pen
from a waitress walking on sand,
and a cider.

I sat alone
drank the insta-golden sea-scene,
and couldn’t shake the sharks.

I ate fish,
full from a drop of the ocean
which is too much.

Then I tired
of flip-flops which wore my feet
to blisters.

And I slipped
past hotel facades with old red years,
back to the quiet.

Annie (or Great Aunt Margaret’s Birth)

As proof of how our family line is made of hearty genes
we’ve got a favourite story, if you’ll let us set the scene:

Our great-great grandma Annie, on our mother’s father’s side,
(and before you ask, we’ll have you know, this story’s verified)
was a-baking in the kitchen on a wintry English day,
in her tiny stone-built cottage which still stands beside the way,
not knowing that her coming child was due that very hour
while the other six were playing round and asking for some flour.

Well, the oven was a-warming and the kneading almost done
when the heavily pregnant Annie felt a change within her tum.
She gave a word to tame the little children running wild
and lay before the fireplace and birthed her seventh child,
a baby girl called Margaret, and then the story’s said
that Annie walked back ovenwards, to go on baking bread!