Mystery like a forest

Mystery like a forest

I am writing this because I was at a  poetry festival

as an administrative background body

and then the one morning chewing peppermint gum

which settles the tight chest cough

I bit my tongue

badly and blamed the gum

Then just went right on to have


solitary brunch of a market philo veggie bake heated in the microwave

It tasted of a lot of ginger

and a lot like blood which is odd because I never eat anything that bleeds ever

When I realised that I had nearly bitten a bit out of my tongue

And it was bleeding from the little flap on the side

Mouth full of blood with tears


What I want to tell about

is the mystery

the beautiful mystery

so close like a tree


I know mostly it is not allowed and not reasonable

And there is small blank space in my brain near the right ear, which can hold that thought and understand its people

But keeping there in the reasonable blank space too long imperceptably fades the colours

fades life

fades to an invisible flatness

fades me


And I know mostly it is not allowed and not theo-logical

And there is a holy peaceful place in my brain a flat circle near the skull

that can hold that holiness and peace and delicious broad forgiveness and understand its people

But keeping in that holy space too long imperceptiably fades the trees

the possibilities

the fire that brings about change and life

fades me


What I want to tell about

is the mystery

the beautiful mystery

so close like a tree

that illuminates everything from the inside


What I want to tell about

is the mystery

that beautiful mystery

that seizes ones being in the face of what must not be left unsaid


What I want to tell about

is the mystery

salty like blood in the mouth

and harsh against those who bring ruin


I wanted to tell about the gentle mystery

I wanted to preach to the birds and the fish

when they were still free


There are scars bigger than the chip out of my tongue

Scars of holding out too long without breathing

yet the mystery

the way it is dark and slow and hidden

like an exotic snail on rain forest floor


I am writing this because I was at a poetry festival

without poems



©  Nomvula Rain

Photo credit


The real garden keeps on teaching

The real garden, the one that is actually growing (or struggling to grow because of the drought)

Is keeping on teaching.

The dandelions, whom I noticed were so tenacious, and bright,

and whom I therefor befriended, are in turn feeding the little birds.

These particular little birds.

Each bird balances, as tenaciously as the dandelions stay here in drought and in soggy soil,

On a slender stalk.  Then slowly the birdling stalks the seeds, edging forwards,

the dandelion stalk slowly bending down as the little bird

Edges closer, and then, chomp chomp chomp munch the seeds.

But between them, the little birds,  leave some to become puffballs.

Of dandelion seeds, to travel on the fierce winds, and somewhere far to also

feed the birds, and feed the bees.


The camera person, me, creeping clumsily to film them, without flustering them all away.




Those who would take over the earth, never, I notice, succeed


Thinking about the most recent in the GMO debate . . . .

If good science is good for the whole, then agricultural science is a vast and complex study – of soil, of nutrition, of people and society, of plants, of climate, or habitat.   Agriculture itself has empirical demands, hence farmers and gardeners over the millennia of human existence have slowly experimented in endless combinations to develop many seeds and varieties that can sustain us in all different environments and environmental changes.

Recently, in the last few seconds of our human history, we have discovered how to quickly alter the internal structure of plants.  20 years ago the plan was mind over matter, a quick fix to those terrible blights that wipe out crops.   A crazy plan – a plan without long  patient testing, a plan without many different farmers, an irreversible plan  – because the wizards who can change the gene one way, cannot get it all back to change it another way once it enters the soil, water and air.  The plan failed spectacularly, or maybe this was always the real plan: that bio-engineered crops are dependent on high risk chemical fertilization and “pest” control.  Seeds, fertilizer and “pest” control as a big rounded up expensive package of patents, belonging to entities bigger than our smaller nation economies.

Rather: Study with small farmers, not against them.  Study together, study seed freedom, study what works, study variety, study good sense, study sharing, study what the earth herself is teaching.  Teaching free of charge, free of patents, free of any greedy cleverness.

Those who would take over the earth
And shape it to their will
Never, I notice, succeed.
The earth is like a vessel so sacred
That at the mere approach of the profane
It is marred
And when they reach out their fingers it is gone.
For a time in the world some force themselves ahead
And some are left behind,
For a time in the world some make a great noise
And some are held silent,
For a time in the world some are puffed fat
And some are kept hungry,
For a time in the world some push aboard
And some are tipped out:
At no time in the world will a man who is sane
Over-reach himself,
Over-spend himself,
Over-rate himself.

  • Witter Bynner translation of the Tao Te Ching, ancient text dated 4th or 3rd Century BCE



Happy Full Moon Solstice

Monday night (20 June 2016) the moon is full and the sun, in my imagination at least, stands still for a moment before “turning around” and coming back to us to make the world warm again.

Time to be out on an ancient mountain, or dancing on a prehistoric plain.   With a grand bonfire and everything.  At least in dreams, because reality may well be a cold rainy Monday night rushing to get home and warm.

Happy Solstice.





Deep in the embers of my heart

I am still a sister

A sister to all sisters

A sister to all brothers

A sister to those who love me

A sister to those who, like me,

Find themselves too often

Outside the walled city gates


Deep in the embers of my heart

I am still a sister

To all creatures

Living this life, in life,

with no sacrifice of lambs


Deep in the embers of my heart

There is a glow

Not extinguished

I am still a sister

weaving through old wisdoms and

still awake to the light and the dark in our human souls


Deep in the glow of my heart

I still belong here

with the trees and with the snails

and the flowers that spring up

in depleted places


My habit is as light as air, and soft and warm to touch

and welcoming

in black white blue green saffron ochre

cascading earth colours

and celestial designs

and I still wear my heart on my sleeve

just on the inside now


I still see the blue sky and I still wonder

how it all works

The 10 000 things, the 10 000 to the power of 10 000 things

arising from the womb of the world,

from the mysterious fountain of our existence


In the deep glow of my heart

there is no exile

there is only kin

on the long road

and sustenance

from the mystery of life


In my heart

I am still a sister and

tomorrow is still

a wonderful family of all creatures, even us,

on this small green-blue planet

if wisdom

and honesty



a-toulouse-02 from the gentle barn

Photo credit

Quotes from the Inner Chapters #2

“Clubfoot-Hunchback-No-Lips talked to Duke Ling of Wei.  Duke Ling was so delighted with him that when he saw normal people, their necks appeared thin and scraggy.  Jug-Jar-Big-goiter talked to Duke Huan of Chi.  Duke Huan was so delighted with him that when he saw normal people, he too thought their necks were thin and scraggy.  So when goodness shines forth, the outward appearances are forgotten. We do not forget what ought to be forgotten, but forget what ought not be forgotten.  This is forgetfulneess indeed!”

From Chuang Tsu Inner Chapters translated by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English