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THE NEMOPHILIST

She knelt at the edge of the purling forest burn[1]. 

Reaching down to pick branches from the ganna bush[3], 
adding it to the morning’s find, including aloe for a burn.[2] 

Honey flowers[4]  release a pungent smell in a rush.                                                                                       


A monarch butterfly alights on her shoulder. 

A gurgling sound can be heard above the birds’ song;
unwrapping the blanket, placing her blouse on a boulder. 

Nursing the child, while he tugs at her black hair strong. 


The adder coils its tail around a branch in a vice. 

A flickering tongue tasting the pregnant air. 
She starts to croon –  the snake recoils in a trice.

She feels around and gathers her things – eyes blindly stare. 

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nemophilist (n.) a haunter of the woods; one who is fond of the forest and its beauty and solitude

[1] burn= brook 

[2] burn = injury due to fire, heat. etc

[3] Ganna bush: Buchu Liquid Soap is the closest you will get to a traditional KhoeSan soap today. The KhoeSan made soap with the ashes of the ganna bos/bush (Salsola aphylla) which is an interesting plant in that it contains a constant 37 % potassium. So you would always know exactly how much lye you were putting into your soap. Potassium hydroxide is still used today for liquid soap, although not from the ganna bos, more’s the pity. http://khoelife.com/about/

[4] honey flower, Kruidjie-roer-my-nie (Afrikaans), Ibonya (Zulu) Scientific Name: Melianthus comosus. It´s a poisonous plant. When one touches it, it gives off an unpleasant smell. This smell is a warning that it is toxic.

NB Our 5 senses are covered in the course of this poem - leaving "sight" for last. "The eyes are useless when the mind is blind." 


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  1. Date: 11/26/2014 9:12:00 AM

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this amazing poem Suzette. So peaceful yet scary.

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