April : Writer/Poet of the Month – Don Beukes

Don Beukes is a South African, British and EU Poet and writer. He is a Poetry Chapbook Reviewer at The Poetry Café. He has written Ekphrastic Poetry since 2015 collaborating with artists internationally. He is the author of ‘The Salamander Chronicles’, ‘Icarus Rising-Volume 1’ (ABP), an ekphrastic collection and ‘Sic Transit Gloria Mundi’ (Concrete Mist Press). He taught English and Geography in both South Africa and the UK. His poetry has been anthologized in numerous collections and translated into Afrikaans, Persian, French, Kreol (Mauritius) and Albanian. He was nominated by Roxana Nastase, editor of Scarlet Leaf Review for the ‘Best of the Net’ in 2017 as well as the Pushcart Poetry Prize (USA) in 2016. He was published in his first SA Anthology ‘In Pursuit of Poetic Perfection’ in 2018 (eBook) (Libbo Publishers) and his second, ‘Cape Sounds’ in 2019 (Gavin Joachims Publishing Cape Town). He is also an amateur photographer and his debut Photographic publication appeared in Spirit Fire Review in June 2019.


Here are some poems and prose extracts by Don Beukes:


I am Refugee

Another foreign face,
Just another alien place – A futile survival rat race
Taking place at stellar pitiful pace but do not mind me –
I am just in a desperate horrific hurry as you
Brand me refugee.

Endless footage document my failing crumbling courage,
Desperation fuels my hesitation to abandon my
Birthright habitation – Circumstance limit my
Human circumference, Insatiable lust for
Power my hindrance.

Echoes of loved ones I lived for once maimed – Savagely shamed,
Their humanity callously claimed – Misinterpreted culture
Ravenously raptured – A nation’s soul violently fractured,
Extremist beast disturbingly haunted me – Its feast
Devouring my very nature,
A godless heinous creature.

Global coverage diarise my demise – Humanitarian
Disguise expose your EU lies – Herded and cleverly
Channelled you pass me along like a
Nationless centurion –
My personal story my passport to humanitarian
glory – A perilous journey began with family across
land and sea devastating heart-wrenching
loss of an infant son lost
tossed out into a watery grave –
Choking humanitarian global cloud.

Political fallout the daily shout – I am what it is all about,
Fractured status sudden realisation how much I am hated –
Trump prophesizing armageddon in the US what a shameful mess
branding me useless – What planet is this?

My religion your chosen confusion your hateful rhetoric
no illusion – Merkel shaming the UN her passion humanely
driven – Cameron foolishly debating his conscience flaking.

Excuse my perceived intrusion – Your bias not your
intention – I was just never mentioned my background
whispered in scriptures even historical fractures – 
Made to sound like leeching maggots – Have you bothered
to ask what I’ve got to give?

A talent to share maybe a useful gift,
Turn your prejudiced stare – You don’t really care what
I can achieve – No thanks, remove your untimely white flag
handkerchief and if I seem
ungrateful well, that will be my own grief.

My journey now painfully perilous hopelessly penniless
what existence is this – What does it mean to be truly free?
I ask you this –
For
I
am
refugee.

City of Dust

We refuse to admit it

We even avoid whispering

About it but we are all citizens

Of a global city – A writhing organic

Metropolis pulsing with untapped potential

Being moulded carved expanded influenced

Harnessed affected infected yet sadly neglected

By those in authority – Our elected power hungry

Minority boosting their monetary superiority –

Just such a pity we ignore each other’s misery

Knowing many of us are not really that able to shine

Academically socially personally politically culturally whilst

Frantically clawing for a place in an ever evolving global community

Increasingly losing our digital privacy, slaves to a new forced

Online era where our unique biology is sold to hi-tech giants

Playing god with our identity our very essence our preferences

Despite our persistent defiance in a frozen tapestry of

Humanity where those who refuse to modernise are

Branded architects of their own unfortunate demise…

Our forced dull disintegration masking our captured

Misery where countless unaccounted souls are

Not free – Desperately hoping to see a liberating

Blinding light to end this global cultural fight – Killing

Our spirits each indigo demon alley nightmare night

Hoping to valiantly fight an oppressing corporate might

But we think twice who to trust giving in to material

Lusts scraping away our inherent moral compass

Lowering the peace mast  whilst violently

Choking convulsing regurgitating disappearing

Clawing battling barely surviving –

In a man-made city of dust…

The Girl in the Stone

Her face remained hidden for a while within the
Porous cavities of the stone I found at the back of the
Garden, initially masked by ancient moss and clay deposits
Hiding her bronze complexion for thousands of years but
Never her obvious tears and startled expression as she
Was proudly mounted on a log to watch over Monte
Arabi although not yet revealed to me.
It happened one orange blossom fiery sunset golden
Evening staring at her blindly when for one split second
A sunbeam gently kissed her bronze cheek revealing her
Ancient forgotten mystique as her eyes locked in stone
Stared helplessly at us – Her gaze mesmerising immediately
Gripping my senses exploding questions rippling through
Me wave after intoxicating wave as her battered right eye
Spoke of unimaginable pain and her bruised cheek a badge
Of her bravery and untold keen sense of survival – As the
Evening light moved over her, I made another startling
Discovery as her eternal protector in the form of a wolf
Proudly revealed himself above her head.

Who was she when was she why now and how? What
Was her young life like? Did she have to start a fire at
Night in a deep cave surrounded by dominant males
After another long exhausting hunt on the plains of
Monte Arabi or did she warm up milk for them gathered
From the resident mouflon still roaming this ancient land?
Did she gather wild rosemary and thyme to flavour the
Evening meal as expected by her male-dominated family?
Did she dream of a future nurturing her own family?
Did she whisper to the giant pine trees of her secret longings?
Did she dream of flying away on eagle wings from her ancient
Mountain kingdom longing for her own imagined freedom?

Only recently I was yet again stunned into silence and awe
When two more faces in profile revealed themselves just before
The golden liquid sun disappeared behind towering pine trees.
Both revelations were locked on another side of the stone and
Depending on the available light falling on one side, I swear
I could see her father and mother alternatively depending
On the light and dark shadows falling on their tired faces –
It was like looking through a sliver of time allowing me to
Peer momentarily into their ancient world.

She still stares at me every day and night – Questioning me
Evaluating  me, this girl in the stone still searching for a future
Home, which makes me wonder if she was the last of her kind
Hoping I would be so kind as to utter a welcoming word but
Sadly she is unable to respond – Waking up once again
In her ancient land with only her lifelong companion
To guard over her as she hopefully stares every glowing
Sunset to the home she used to know when she was free in
Majestic Monte Arabi…

Prose

The Oracle Chronicles

Chapter One

As hordes of dark forces assemble across the parched lands known as Vygieskraal, a lonely mysterious figure slips unseen through the sacred waterfall, high above the hazy ravine splitting the three kingdoms of Belhar, Kraaifontein and Grabouw.

Not even the feared gamdroelas could pick up the scent of this elusive stranger to these forlorn lands, ravished by senseless decades of sporadic wars over the most precious prize of all; the only remaining legendary source of the life-giving water flowing to all the subjects in the three Kingdoms. Whoever controls the source, controls all the citizens. However, since all the water has dried up, a darkness has descended upon all who dwell in these war-torn ancient lands.

The knowledge of the sacred path leading to the source has long been passed on from a line of oracles, born with unknown visions and wisdom; only to be revealed when called upon by a chosen maiden from one of the three kingdoms, seeking the right of passage to secure the source for her nation.

Before she bravely entered the unknown, Eniamrach hesitated for a fleeting moment, just to take in the enormity of her task. She knew that any doubt would unleash a torrent of abuse from her family, who has offered her to the king of Belhar, Sekueb Nodmai. She just could not fail, must not fail if she was to secure the source for the kingdom. All she knew from the map passed on to her by her great-grandfather, the wise Oupa of her village, was that the entrance to the oracle was beyond the blue mist, through the gigantic ancient tree –  hollowed out by years of conflict.

Suddenly the curtain of water cascaded right in front of her, as she bravely walked through it; her fear numbed by the fact that only she could ensure victory for her people and bestow honour on her family.

After a tiring journey of strange sights and smells, Eniamrahc noticed the stoic silhouette gazing at her from the top of a grassy hill. ”That must be the oracle”, she whispered to herself, as she kept her eyes fixed on the strange attire; the protective veil, the robe covering her entire body and a stare that looked right through her; knew her.

Unexpectedly the oracle spoke directly to her!

” Before you look at me and seek what only I can see, do you have what I’ve asked for?” Eniamrahc had to steel herself not to steal a split second peek at the revered

enigma talking to her. ”Yes great oracle, I have with me root of bokmakierie, essence of waterblommetjies and residue of knoffel, as you requested.”

Only then did the oracle give Eniamrahc a nod to look at her directly. Her voice sounded like a faint rumble before lightning strikes.

“You have a rare ingredient I have anxiously waited for. Only the root of bokmakierie can cause the gamdroelas to lose their vision, consequently allowing you safe passage to what you are seeking.”

Now you need to convince me why I should show you the way to the source of all life. Time is running out. Well? Don’t just stand there! Do you want this or not? ”

“How can you doubt me oh revered Oracle? I have risked my life to reach this sacred place. My journey here pre-ordained by my people and our wise and brave King Sekueb Nodmai, to whom I am promised to upon delivery of the knowledge of all life. My future and that of the people of Belhar, along with the other two kingdoms depend on my determination to succeed in the enormous task bestowed upon me. I am here to serve and I am prepared to die for it but not before I honour my great-grandfather, who led me here by revealing the source of all life to our king.’

If the Oracle had any doubts, she certainly did not reveal it. She was intrigued however to hear that an elder of an unknown village possessed the location of the secret liquid entrance to where she has lived all her life. This was indeed a revelation that would need her attention imminently but the task at hand surpassed any other concerns. This heroic maiden had a familiar life force radiating from her, a sure sign that what she was about to reveal was destined to be given to Eniamrahc.

“I am convinced brave maiden that your arrival here has been expected. I am yet to discover the identity of the elder who blessed you with this sacred knowledge of how to reach me but that can wait for later. I am convinced that your intentions are genuine and therefore I will ask you now to give me your hand and look beyond my eyes for what

you came to seek. I must warn you though that the path to the liberation of your people

will be filled with unimaginable horror and loss. Your very essence will be tested but this is what the stones have whispered. Never look back as I lead you now to where you were meant to journey to. Do not be startled by what you are about to witness. Only you will know which way to turn, which enemies to avoid and ultimately discover the very source of where we all came from. Something has gained access to the source of all knowledge but it has been blinded to prevent it from owning it. It is now up to you to confront it and destroy it. Trust me…’

As Eniamrach touched the Oracle’s hand, her very being was shaken by the visions confronting her. Not only did she have to face the gamdroelas down below on the plains of Vygieskraal but she had to rescue the cursed Bloekomboom army from the deep grotte below who would accompany her to her final destination, there to initiate a fierce battle for the ultimate knowledge, which would secure their future.

As she walked away, disappearing into the whispering woods of the Hottentotsholland mountains, all she could wonder about was why the oracle reminded her of a familiar face she once saw in her childhood dreams…

Chapter Two

The Prequel

The Beyond – Deep within the revered ancient
cavities of the majestic azure Hottentots Holland
Mountains, lies a kingdom as old as the rocks out
of which it was forged – Its hidden entrances guarded
by peculiar majestic beasts, each with unique abilities
to protect those in the beyond from invasive familiar
hostilities – You see, of the three kingdoms left in the
land of Hottentotshuisie, ‘The Beyond’ remains protected
by a worthy ruler elected to ensure languishing longevity –
For a nation scarred by eons of marauding senseless wars
to settle ancient scores, leaving only fermenting emotional
sores – It is from this place that a young meisie is being
prepared to seek my wise counselling and fulfill her whispered
legacy, as others brace themselves for the final gathering – Hoping
to discover life eternal from a secret liquid spring – Its passage
known only by me, their elected referee.

Eniamrach – Even from the moeras plains of Vygieskraal
I sensed her anxious breaths as she raced across the treacherous
cursed land of the gamdroelas, devious unforgiving abominations
born from the destructive spells of the tokkelos, gnashing in a frenzy
for an untouched meisie to feast on as the stones predicted –
Only her inherited ancient knowledge of the rare boegoe herb
saved her foretold life, as its aroma sent the saliva dripping
gamdroelas in a hallucinating coma – At last the trustworthy
kwêvoëls shrieked her imminent arrival, my premonition
almost complete, for Eniamrach might just be the one
to inherit the eternal crown…

Sekueb Nodmai – Her hesitant approach revealed her innocence
My veil masking my true identity. “What do you seek from me?
Secrets of the boabab tree?”

“Oh mighty oracle I only need your ancient wisdom to save us
from a fiery prison – I have for you root of waterblommetjie
and extract of bitter knoffel, also essence of wilde dagga as
you requested – Will you now grant me what I came to
seek?”
“You have done your father and your people proud. Now return
through the weeping willows and follow the call of the echoing
waterfall, then recite the words of the great Sekueb Nodmai –
Hurry and flee from here, do not pierce my hazy veil,
Quick drink this sour kruietee – Your essence will now
float away from here – Remember me when you hear

the mystic murmur of the boabab tree…

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