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Come to me at dawn, without fuss,

without raised voice. Beyond

old habits, we find other ways.


Bitterness has become a baroque concert,

askew on your pretty lips.

Take me back to the prairies of our youth.

                 from Be Like Water by Martha Landman 







Lunar Impact

Be like water

Passion Sky

At your funeral I learnt that you wrote poetry

When Last?

I’m fine

Khaki Beyond the Mazari Palm


Beyond the Blue Room




1 – BIOGRAPHY:  Martha Landman


Martha Landman was born in South Africa and now lives in South Australia. Her poems have been published in various poetry magazines and journals, also online, including Strange Poetry, New Verse News, Blue Hour Magazine, MUSED, The Projectionist’s Playground and anthologies in the US, UK and Australia. She was the editor for A Compendium of Beasts, A PK Project, 2016, and a co-editor for Voices of The North, a collection of stories and poetry from North Queensland, Australia, 2014.







The sun scorches the naked dunes

stretched out like a woman’s body

held in her lover’s embrace.


Lost in the familiarity of his rhythm

she waits for the mountain zebra’s call

the soft hooves of the gemsbok.


At night, the moon lies soft on her belly,

fossilised camel thorn trees guard

as desert winds erase footprints in the sand.


What if this desert were an hourglass,

its music, keystrokes in the powdery sand,

birds were an orchestra in the salt marsh?


Her lover’s tongue in an abyss of shadows

unveiled in such space, such silence,

whispers night words to the moon.



Lunar Impact


Walking in the moonlight then,

we basked in that long afterglow,

our lips a molten mass, your face

a spectacular episode in the whiteness

of moon. At the sight of your silhouette

gliding in the water, desire dislodged

like lava, with the force of a fridge

hitting the moon; an asteroid

through a sea of clouds.


Through a sea of clouds

the moon gazed at us, her naked

eye a telescopic lens, her smile

a thermal glow. She moved at

elegant speed around the earth,

dodged and winked at every

meteor along the way.



Be like water


that runs smooth along the rocks,

silver blades of sun skidding sideways

around the clouds, casting shadows out.


Come to me at dawn, without fuss,

without raised voice. Beyond

old habits, we find other ways.


Bitterness has become a baroque concert,

askew on your pretty lips.

Take me back to the prairies of our youth.


The tide turns away from our folly.

Let us sit under these banana trees.

We will bathe tonight in moonlight.



Passion Sky


The sky is a passion tower

A vertical breath from the bosom of a fire God

Voluptuous love-plumes bellow like a death sentence

An inferno of justice


Where are the birds, the planes?

Entranced by elemental fury, farmers hover in the shade

They offer incense and a thousand goats to the gods

who enrich their soil


The sky is a love sculpture

Tangled clouds of fairy floss assault the atmosphere

Rivers flow in lava, arisen from the mountain floor —

Tomorrow’s saucers fly —

The sky is passion.



At your funeral I learnt that you wrote poetry


And I mourned,

Not that you died

Or died in the saddle

Or died at the age of 74



I mourned

That I didn’t know

You loved The Beatles

Played Jazz

And read Viktor Frankl


I mourned

That I only got to know you




When Last?


How long since we’ve kissed the mountain blue

held hands when we drank our Sunday tea?


How long since we’ve let the music monsoon

the relaxed space between us, feet entwined?


It was not until I heard him whisper je t'aime

to the redheaded girl in the no parking-zone


that I remembered how we manipulated every

chance to perfect the body of our marriage vows.


How long since we fed each other strawberries

immersed in Baileys; loved our chocolate lips?


It was not until my tongue recalled your

Cabernet flavour on our canyon hiking trips


the quivering anticipation in the dank room 

on our second honeymoon, that I, awash


with melancholy, exasperated at the thoughts

of your deceit; your humanness, your vitality


watched you through the motel window.

It only happened once, your meek excuse


stopped tormenting me the day you died and

I was left with aging flesh — our love survived.




I’m fine


Sometimes I say I’m fine

when you ask what is wrong?

Mostly I’m thinking of wasps

and poisonous snakes.

I wish for the sound of a train

rumbling on its tracks,

the whistle when it leaves.

I put on my boots and walk in the rain.

Winds whip the water backwards to the sky.

Two black kites give up on their lovemaking.

I wish they too would be taken by the wind.


It’s evening when I get back home,

the lights are out, the fire unlit.

Silence creeps in from underneath the floor boards,         

the sound of incy wincy spider from the neighbours’ TV.

Streetlamps throw a dull sparkle on the screen.

On the porch table the photo album

lies open at pictures of the Wailing Wall.

You sit slumped in your chair, your pipe cold.

I ask what’s wrong? 

I’m fine, you say.




Khaki Beyond the Mazari Palm


Here, when the mountains

are capped with snow

the night breeze sings ghazals

on the plains.


On summer nights

lovers lie on home-spun carpets

spread on dirt berms

they feast on pistachios

and pomegranates

drink goat’s milk and listen 

to the harps and the flutes

the herdsmen on the valley floor.


Behind dust curtains

children are twilled

in cotton cloth,

desert storms,

IEDs and hand grenades

fight holy wars

at night, the wind howls

across the desert.


When this war is over

I want to visit your butcher shops,

buy flowers in Kabul,

drink mulberry juice from the well

at Tang-e Gharu Gorge,

inhale the mountain smoke

and find myself a troubadour.




            —then let your heart say in awe

            “God moves in passion.”

                        -- Kahlil Gibran


A certain brother went to Abbot Moses in Scete, and asked him for a good word. And the elder said to him; Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything. 

                        --Thomas Merton   


Checco was a mover, not like a mover and shaker, just a busy man.

In his dreams, he shared a Facebook page with Jack Kerouac

who had just the profile he wanted, a little watered down, even curt.


Checco was uninterested in anything that wasn’t moving, prophesies

included.  Butterflies pinned against a board infuriated the rebellious

man, regardless of its purpose. To see them fixed ripped his anger.


A bookbinder by trade Checco passionately loved the written word.

He took it upon himself to voice vehement unforgiveness at any

blatantly unconventional use of the word or oblivion to rule.


Beneath the surface of the man’s vigour lay a deep insecurity:

His writing, although outstanding, was often ridiculed — it made him

restless. Nervously he studied doctrine, he studied dictionaries,


he studied language: bad language, dead language, foreign language, foul

language, second language.  He did not rest and moved swiftly between

lecture halls.  Then one night he read Hesse’s Siddhartha and Merton’s


Wisdom of the Desert.  It moved him so he cried in deep compassion.

At once Checco stopped the shuffling of chairs and papers. His

movements became quiet, contemplative, absorbing the awakening


stillness that brought forth an imagination never experienced before.

Opening up like a kite Checco’s writing soared, connected with heaven

and crescendoed in seismic waves, deeply moving the writing world.



Beyond the Blue Room



In a room blue as the ocean

a cream-white woman

bathes upright.

Her skin incites —


Warmth and burgundy in the rug,

olive green overtures;

day-old flowers on the table

invite the French summer:

a timeless Picasso.


The room waits.


Underneath the paint, invisible,

a man’s brushstrokes sweep;

his thoughts concealed,

though there are hints

of seduction-layered conversations.


The woman takes her time: A picture

of contemplation, grace,

of concentrated charm

her neck flows like a swan’s —

Does she sense she is not alone?




Infrared unveils the truth

of vertical brushstrokes                                                                                               

a man with beard and bow-tie.


Is that Ambroise Vollard

chuckling at the nude Paris sky?

If there was colour in his beard

it would be blue rings of wealth.


His hand guides the young man

who paints the homeless in the streets,

hurriedly composed on cardboard,

a masterpiece of melancholy,



Happenstance glued and unglued

to disguise fame,

a palimpsest.


There are shadows in his portrait,

beyond the pigment.

Two men’s voices meet.





Sossusvlei (2014), At your funeral I learnt that you wrote poetry (2015), I’m fine (2016) and Khaki Beyond the Mazari palm (2014) -  published by MUSED

Lunar Impact and Passion Sky – published by New Verse News, 2015

When Last? – published by SpeedPoets, Brisbane, Vol 13.3, 2013

Checco – published by Blue Hour Magazine, 2014

Beyond the Blue Room – published by The Projectionist’s Playground, Issue 4, December 2017


4 - Afterword

Email Poetry Kit - info@poetrykit.org    - if you would like to tell us what you think. 

We are looking for other poets to feature in this series, and are open to submissions.  Please send one poem and a short bio to - info@poetrykit.org