(The Crystal Age / Pretoria - South Africa)

Ph Passions: Falling In And Out Of Love


I’ve got a new passion, can’t stop writing
maudlin poetry when experiencing these
heavenly transports, least I’ve learnt to
hold my tongue and not drive colleagues
up the wall with my odes to joy, but I have
to write about it so much to express a host
of joyous emotions that is overpowering,
juvenile and magnificent all at the same time


In the old days I fell in love with stones
collecting them illegally in nature resorts,
walking back and forth with enormous stones
between campsite and beachfront, sitting up
till three in the morning playing with them,
at home varnishing them and placing them
all over the house till the mess was too much
and the kids started throwing them around…


Then I had a love affair with shells, collecting
them for hours and lovingly washing them in
the bath, sorting them then arranging the small
shells in the big ones, pasting them down with
salt and icing sugar, a flimsy affair but so delicate
and enchanting, covering them with cellophane
handing them out as gifts to my friends – what
they did about the ants I don’t know…

Branch and Rope

Then I hung up the branch of a tree in my office
decorating it with glitter and shells and anything
nice, pictures of fairies and elves, and then
criss-crossed the ceiling with rope on which
to hang more fanciful stuff, even condom balloons
when it was forced upon us during a promotional
campaign, feathers and small toys I secretly took
from the kids’ rooms in a bid to save them


Feeling quite insulted when my boss objected to
this lovely mobile of mine whereas the cleaners
designated me the local sangoma – an honourary
title, of course - then I discovered bricks, the red
clay ones called mamparas that glow with life
and feel so good to the touch, I licked them and
took them into the bath, the easiest way to clean
them and scratching the bathtub irreparably, then


Pasting dried leaves and flowers on them, finishing
off with silver glitter, a wonderful mess, brought
them to the office one by one, bricks, dust, clay,
dried flowers and glitter messing everywhere…
Because of my odes to clay bricks a translator
actually licked one - when I saw how gross it looked,
I was most heartily ashamed and never did it again
at least not where other people could see me

Grass Phase

Then I had a grass phase, being fascinated with
golden elephant grass, I stashed grass everywhere
and it was beautiful, but hubby was quite disgusted,
grass is messy and we don’t live in a den – so out
they went – then the stringing little-glitter-thingies
everywhere-phase came and went, it seemed that
passion phases were over - nowadays my taste
is more sophisticated – but

An Affliction

I still can’t get rid of another affliction: Licking an
empty ice-cream plate; always making sure the kids
can’t see me, but I know it is terrible all the same-
only my mother forbade us to do it when we were
small, so it became a token of solidarity among us
that we licked those plates – in spite of her edicts
against it, In any case, after that I discovered PH
and my passions drove people wild, now I fall in
and out of love without anyone being the wiser…

by Margaret Alice

Comments (1)

This is an absolute masterpiece, Alice!