“Zandvlei” by Sue Woodward

at sunrise, the house across the water
is on fire, flames fill the windows
burnt orange tinged with silver
I want to call the fire brigade
people are getting burnt in there!
I walk on, changing my angle of sight
the flames subside

when the south easter pours
heavily in from the antarctic
and rolls down the mountain
in waves of mist and pelting rain
nobody comes to this blasted heath
but Lear and his fool
and dogwalkers resolute
in boots and beanies

the water is heavy as mercury
stunted trees lean north
I toss my stone, the ripples
spread like a hand slowly opening
sending circles into the universe
the echo of their cries grows fainter
the centre beckons

Sue Woodward has previously published in South African literary magazines under her birth name of Susan Mahoney. She lives in Muizenberg and regularly walks along the Zandvlei estuary, which is the subject of many of her poems.

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