Author Archives: Chris York

51, Jelliman Ave

51, Jelliman Ave 


Look – there’s the veranda
where we sat, with our cats and our dogs,
surrounding the lounge
where we had all our parties.
Here is the dining room
ants ate the sugar.
Here is the kitchen
spaghetti trials on the ceiling.
Look down the long hall
with its’ polished wood floor,
ideal for skating and cutting out curtains.
Into the bedrooms, cluttered with playthings
books we all read before singing to sleep.




Life is full of challenges
If you are alive –
why don’t you challenge life?
Instead of trudging along the same old path
as your long dead forefathers,
complaining and grumbling,
instead of overthrowing
their unreasonable attitudes.




It’s the 21st Century in Britain,
I huddle in my chair
in an unheated room
and dream of blue lights
dancing across wood and coal,
frills of yellow, red flames
radiating heat around the room,
dancing and singing, cha cha cha.

I fill a hot water bottle
make a big mug of soup
wrap myself in a huge blanket,
dream of the sweet smell
of grass burning across the vlei;
a line of red flames passing the trees,
leaving blackened soil and ash.
The flames crackle, cha cha cha.

We have choices to make in life.
This week I choose to eat,
ride out the cold with warm memories.
After the fire the protea seeds
germinate among the lush grass sprouts.
The sugar bush flowers are heavy with nectar
visited by the malachite sunbird;
long curved beak probing the blossoms,
wings a whirling illusion.
A good choice to dream about.

Sea Slater

Sea Slater 

This seaworthy boat,
fresh white and coral paint
shiny metal railings
radio connected
chained to its moorings,
never leaves the harbour.

Rises with the tide
and jostles with the boats leaving.
Waits hungrily for their return and bounty.
Falls with the tide
lies on its side on the mud
waiting for the moorings to rust
and release it.
To float adrift on the ocean.

Ralph Alger Bagnold (1896-1990) – we salute you.

Ralph Alger Bagnold (1896-1990) – we salute you. 


Who saw the first excavation of the Sphinx lion body,
preserved from erosion by the sand.
Singing sands, what is your secret?

Who explored the vast desert
from Cairo to Ain Dalla, in a Ford Model A.
Whistling sands, what is your secret?

Who founded the British Army’s World War 11
Long Range Desert Group in North Africa.
Drumming sands, what is your secret?

Who asked the right questions
and found most of the answers.
Barking sands, what is your secret?

Whose book, ‘The Physics of Blown Sand and Desert Dunes’ 1941
was still the main sand reference for the NASA moon and Mars missions.
Booming sands, what is your secret?

Whose life was like a sand grain tumbling in the wind,
and who is remembered forever by ‘Bagnold Hills’ on Mars.
Whispering sands, tell us your secrets.  We are listening.




“Soribut I think you’ll find
you’re wrong in this case …”

Calmmurderer, I’d like to grind
your face between two graniblox.
You’ll drive me into sugarue.
I’ll grundle till tenforteasque.

Scintillating Drops

Scintillating Drops


It is not as we imagined.

It is not as we were told.

The dendritic agent is fluid as we deduced,

and flows strongly away from higher territories,

but the surface seems alive.

It sings and small drops dance above it,

twinkling in the rays of the sun.

Dimples and rills catch the light

and mesmerize onlookers.

It is never still; sparkling and shimmering,

frothing over rocks.

I watched it fall from a great height

thundering and splashing,

creating a mist and a rainbow.

The colours we never see.


In lands where there is little of what they call water

the resemblance to home is dramatic.

Grey and red dust accumulate and the green is missing.

The inhabitants are trying to placate the gods.

They choose a city and knock down all the buildings

make craters in the road, and light many,

many votive fires around the rubble;

the grey plumes of smoke billowing high above them.

Then they sacrifice each other, trying to wet

the bare earth with their red, red blood.

Thousands make pilgrimages to the coast,

and drown themselves to tell the gods of their plight.


But I could tell them that once they lose

the blue and the green from their planet

it will never return. The gods are not listening.

I could tell them of our tragic past



Often something that seems

to come out of nowhere

triggers unforeseen consequences.

For spiders,

this event was the appearance

of major ampullate silk,

or dragline  silk, – the rappelling rope

spiders depend on

as they plunge through the air.

It is one of the toughest materials on earth …

from page 56 of ‘Spider Silk’ by Leslie Brunetta and Catherine L. Craig