A cup of tea
The rain arrives at three, soft first,
then urgent, persistent, steady.
A cup of tea’s his last resort
who’s coughed for over half an hour
trying to clear his lungs of phlegm.
It hurts his chest, his neck, his head.
He goes downstairs. A faulty gutter
drips outside, keeping time.
He makes a note: it must be fixed.
The steaming tea relieves his pain,
the coughing slows until at last
his breathing settles down again.
Enveloped by the quiet you find
in early hours, he tries to read.
The world is flying through the dark,
houses, trees and mountain tops,
late lovers down the street who bend
to weave a future in their ark.
Floating behind the broken cloud,
the teasing moon plays hide and seek.
How long to wait, he wonders, for
clear understanding to appear…
the skill of living devoid of fear
of being gone, no longer here.
from Heaven: New & Selected Poems (Cape Town: Left Field Poetry, 2014).