Love letters & other deficits

28 October 2016


The silver bracelet broke 
and was lost in the sheets.

My heart followed.

- nagvissie   October 2016

20 October 2016


Therapist: Have you ever stolen anything?
Man: A coin out of a fountain.
Therapist: So.. you stole someone's dream.
Man: It's my dream now.

- nagvissie April 2016

01 May 2014


A pigeon came into the kitchen to eat the dog food and then flew up to and against the kitchen window instead of out of the door. It settled on the tap and from there threw itself against the window pane over and over again as if effort would change the outcome.

The dogs were jumping at the cupboards and the boys, trying to help, found a bucket, stood watching not knowing what to do with it.

When I took hold of the bird its wings were open and it resisted slightly as I folded them against its body. The flight feathers were hard quills in my palms and I felt its bird bones, warm and white the way I see them lie half eaten on the lawn sometimes.

As my fingers closed over its breast, its heart beating higher up than I had expected, it moulted.

Every short soft grey feather on its underbelly peeled off, out of its sheath, through my fingers and fell.
Still in rows and shields.
Into the sink.
We stood there, the bird, the boys, the dogs and I until its heart had calmed. Then we walked outside and it sat in my hand for a few seconds before it flew off.

We stress moult the softest parts of ourselves when we are overwhelmed, afraid, threatened. If the pigeon doesn't recover from the moult fast enough it will die of exposure.  

- nagvissie May 2014

11 April 2014

You, Fish

You, Fish, are not drowning.

Only I drown
reaching for you.

nagvissie - 10 April 2014

28 February 2013

“Procrastination Is Not Laziness" - David Cain

It turns out procrastination is not typically a function of laziness, apathy or work ethic as it is often regarded to be. It’s a neurotic self-defence behaviour that develops to protect a person’s sense of self-worth.
You see, procrastinators tend to be people who have, for whatever reason, developed to perceive an unusually strong association between their performance and their value as a person. This makes failure or criticism disproportionately painful, which leads naturally to hesitancy when it comes to the prospect of doing anything that reflects their ability — which is pretty much everything.

But in real life, you can’t avoid doing things. We have to earn a living, do our taxes, have difficult conversations sometimes. Human life requires confronting uncertainty and risk, so pressure mounts. Procrastination gives a person a temporary hit of relief from this pressure of “having to do” things, which is a self-rewarding behaviour  So it continues and becomes the normal way to respond to these pressures.

Particularly prone to serious procrastination problems are children who grew up with unusually high expectations placed on them. Their older siblings may have been high achievers, leaving big shoes to fill, or their parents may have had neurotic and inhuman expectations of their own, or else they exhibited exceptional talents early on, and thereafter “average” performances were met with concern and suspicion from parents and teachers. 

- David Cain, “Procrastination Is Not Laziness"

03 February 2013

Near Heaven

You and I have always lived running our hands along the veil.

Comforted that no love is lost forever beyond our words.

Confident that it is not Heaven that assigns us the past tense.

nagvissie - 24 July 2011

11 January 2013

Meeting Miss Fitzpaine

Miss Fitzpaine brought her 5 year old self to breakfast, newspaper under her arm in lieu of a dolly. 

I watched her little grin. As she made her way past the Gentlemen’s Table. 

Oom Eric had positioned himself mid-aisle, knees bent and back precariously locked as he unpacked his pantry of jams, salt and sugar from the small basket attached to his walker. As Miss Fitzpaine passed him she stopped, drew back her newspaper and with a perfectly coached tennis forehand, landed a shot on his rump.
"Spank you on the bottom," she shrieked and tried to run away as fast as her 82 year old body would allow.

The old men took their turns at this game every morning. Each of them had their limit of patience, depending on their being a gentleman or proximity to dementia.

I was introduced to Miss Fitzpaine for the first time at Sunday lunch, which, for most residents required a little dressing up. 

And from Chef required considerable extra effort in making the mutton into lamb - a gift the man had not acquired over the years. God forbid the food should look in any way cut up or chewed on behalf of the residents, or the Sister-in-Charge would be inundated with complaints. For R25, and the pleasure of being a polite listener, I was invited to join the Old Dears for lunch. 
Served by Chef: Old ewe, tinned peas, sugarless pumpkin (as most residents were diabetic), a decent sized 'dood-gooi' (if-thrown-will-kill) roast potato and, what seems to be Chef's only talent, green bean-potato-onion mush, which was lovely. Pudding was, most acceptably, tinned peaches and ice cream, except that it was the middle of winter. 

"No coffee", said Sister Dot, "Stimulates the libido you know."

Miss Fitzpaine arrived at lunch with her newspaper and all three her persona's.  Her additional Sunday lunch prop was a glass of dry white wine standing elegantly next to the arrangement of garden cuttings, which perhaps should have been tossed on the compost heap instead of being put in a vase. Some geranium leaves, a stalk of bougainvillea, one closed and one headless daisy. 

She was the only resident allowed the privilege of alcohol, if only to ensure peace for the course of the meal. Her five litre box of dry white was kept locked in the dispensary along with her other prescriptions.

Before the meal I had been pulled, physically, aside by Sister Dot and given my instructions on to 'How to lunch with Miss Fitzpaine'. 

Eye contact is fine. But don't under any circumstances whatsoever TOUCH her. She bites. She scratches. Don't contradict her or point out a lie. It will cause much swearing which will result in Mrs Parks, the Baptist woman at the next table, having to be sedated for the afternoon. Did I understand?

"Yes, Sister Dot." The sweet woman should blink occasionally, I thought.

A quick aside about 'the Gentlemen's Table', and it’s vastly out-numbered occupants: during my visit I developed a small heartache for the six men at that table who tended to keep their eyes down and their mouths full whenever they were in the dining room and seemed always to travel in pairs in the passages. In the afternoons they were to be found sleeping in odd chairs, wherever the sun shone in and they stayed well clear of the Morning Prayer groups even though cake was always brought by the visiting vicars. This perhaps had something to do with the unfortunate habit of some of the lady residents bemoaning their status of widowhood and ‘if only they would be rescued by a Christian gentleman and returned to wedded bliss’.

Miss Fitzpaine’s mood was excellent this afternoon. Bouncing and light-hearted, not a swear word to be heard. She took control with a monologue immediately and held forth for some time about Mommy and pudding, childhood outings and a bad attack of the lice caught from a nasty neighbour child. She wore a tight beige crocheted beanie over her cropped white hair. Her eyes were 5 years old.

Although diagnosed with Arthritis Miss Fitzpaine’s body remembered only her happiness as her young self. Her fingers curled and folded easily as she spoke. Her face animated and her mouth tightened and kissed and bubbled through the conversation. She bounced in her chair and swung her feet under the table.

All the time though, and I had been warned before the meal to watch for the change, her 5 year old eyes were on the clock. She would have to give way to the next persona. And so with a constant swinging of her head Miss Fitzpaine watched which table was being served, how fast the waitresses were moving, counting down to letting Sylvia out to play.

The waitresses had learnt that Miss Fitzpaine was always to be served first at her table or there would be 'hell to pop' as my hostess would say.

The very moment the main course was placed in front of her, Miss Fitzpaine rested. She pushed herself into the back of her chair. Stretched her legs out under the table, crossed her ankles. Laid a long, psychologically beautiful arm across the table, pulled the glass of wine towards her and lifted it by the stem. Her face relaxed. Her eyes became calm and sensual and she battered her eyelashes and touched her lips with her finger, after sipping the wine, as if to check her make-up. The illusion, the transformation was miraculous.

She believed herself to be a beauty and so I saw her.

This 30 year old persona called herself by her first name only - Sylvia. The rest is all make-believe - except perhaps for having been a beauty. Who knows.

The newspaper under her arm had now become her highly secret PhD, topic never divulged; she, an academic superstar at Columbia University; an intellectual beauty with many lovers and admirers.
She moved gracefully. Her hands became her baton. It was as if her fingers lengthened. She moved her head as if her hair was long and held her shoulders back to show off breasts she no longer had.

The monologue was over. Her conversation, although still self-centred was vivacious and sociable. She initiated small discussions about trains that used to run from East London to Cape Town and postage stamps becoming obsolete. Then she lost interest almost immediately and insulted her table mates with smiles

"I'm so bored here with no one intelligent to speak to".

The newspaper was guarded every moment and although I prompted twice about Columbia, she was adept at shutting me down politely in this persona.

As her plate was taken away the next physical change began; a shrinking. She began to rub her hands, her back bent slightly and she became silent.

The other ladies took the opportunity to start their own conversations. It took almost 20 minutes for the pudding to arrive and by that time Sylvia Fitzpaine, in the navy blue tracksuit, white Pep Stores takkies and crocheted beanie had become a stooped, muttering 82 year old woman. Her body uncomfortable, eyes darting across the room and back to her lap; she could not longer cross her ankles. Her hands were curled in and cold, tucked into her sleeves. Every now and then she would stick a short clipped fingernail through the beanie and scratch her scalp.

"I don't know why they insist on putting this wine out, it constipates me" she hissed.

She cut her tinned peaches with a knife and fork before she could eat them.

Just before the end of my fortnight visit I was told that Miss Fitzpaine had been moved to Frail Care. She refused to swallow any food, instead chewing and spitting it out at table, making little piles on the table around her plate. She had lost Sylvia altogether and only shifted between her 5 year self and her frail 82 year old self now.

I went to her room to say goodbye to her. She didn't recognise me. I noticed the mirror in her room had been taken down, unscrewed from the wall.

nagvissie - July 2010

04 January 2013

John Steinbeck on Falling in Love: A Letter

New York
November 10, 1958

Dear Thom:

We had your letter this morning. I will answer it from my point of view and of course Elaine will from hers.

First -- if you are in love -- that's a good thing -- that's about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don't let anyone make it small or light to you.

Second -- There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you -- of kindness and consideration and respect -- not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn't know you had.

You say this is not puppy love. If you feel so deeply -- of course it isn't puppy love.

But I don't think you were asking me what you feel. You know better than anyone. What you wanted me to help you with is what to do about it -- and that I can tell you.

Glory in it for one thing and be very glad and grateful for it.

The object of love is the best and most beautiful. Try to live up to it.

If you love someone -- there is no possible harm in saying so -- only you must remember that some people are very shy and sometimes the saying must take that shyness into consideration.

Girls have a way of knowing or feeling what you feel, but they usually like to hear it also.

It sometimes happens that what you feel is not returned for one reason or another -- but that does not make your feeling less valuable and good.

Lastly, I know your feeling because I have it and I'm glad you have it.

We will be glad to meet Susan. She will be very welcome. But Elaine will make all such arrangements because that is her province and she will be very glad to. She knows about love too and maybe she can give you more help than I can.

And don't worry about losing. If it is right, it happens -- The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.



31 December 2012

Federico Garcia Lorca: Ode to Salvador Dalí

Lorca and Dali in visiting Cadaques, 1927
A rose in the high garden that you desire.

A wheel in the pure syntax of steel.

The mountain stripped of impressionist mist.

Greys looking out from the last balustrades.

Modern painters in their blank studios,

Sever the square root’s sterilized flower.

In the Seine’s flood an iceberg of marble

freezes the windows and scatters the ivy.

Man treads the paved streets firmly.

Crystals hide from reflections’ magic.

Government has closed the perfume shops.

The machine beats out its binary rhythm.

An absence of forests, screens and brows

Wanders the roof-tiles of ancient houses.

The air polishes its prism on the sea

and the horizon looms like a vast aqueduct.

Marines ignorant of wine and half-light,

decapitate sirens on seas of lead.

Night, black statue of prudence, holds

the moon’s round mirror in her hand.

A desire for form and limit conquers us.

Here comes the man who sees with a yellow ruler.

Venus is a white still life

and the butterfly collectors flee.

Cadaqués, the fulcrum of water and hill,

lifts flights of steps and hides seashells.

Wooden flutes pacify the air.

An old god of the woods gives children fruit.

Her fishermen slumber, dreamless, on sand.

On the deep, a rose serves as their compass.

The virgin horizon of wounded handkerchiefs,

unites the vast crystals of fish and moon.

A hard diadem of white brigantines

wreathes bitter brows and hair of sand.

The sirens convince, but fail to beguile,

and appear if we show a glass of fresh water.

Oh Salvador Dalí, of the olive voice!

I don’t praise your imperfect adolescent brush

or your pigments that circle those of your age,

I salute your yearning for bounded eternity.

Healthy soul, you live on fresh marble.

You flee the dark wood of improbable forms.

Your fantasy reaches as far as your hands,

and you savor the sea’s sonnet at your window.

The world holds dull half-light and disorder,

in the foreground humanity frequents.

But now the stars, concealing landscapes,

mark out the perfect scheme of their courses.

The flow of time forms pools, gains order,

in the measured forms of age upon age.

And conquered Death, trembling, takes refuge

in the straightened circle of the present moment.

Taking your palette, its wing holds a bullet-hole,

you summon the light that revives the olive-tree.

Broad light of Minerva, builder of scaffolding,

with no room for dream and its inexact flower.

You summon the light that rests on the brow,

not reaching the mouth or the heart of man.

Light feared by the trailing vines of Bacchus,

and the blind force driving the falling water.

You do well to place warning flags

on the dark frontier that shines with night.

As a painter you don’t wish your forms softened

by the shifting cotton of unforeseen clouds.

The fish in its bowl and the bird in its cage.

You refuse to invent them in sea or in air.

You stylize or copy once you have seen,

with your honest eyes, their small agile bodies.

You love a matter defined and exact,

where the lichen cannot set up its camp.

You love architecture built on the absent,

admitting the banner merely in jest.

The steel compass speaks its short flexible verse.

Now unknown islands deny the sphere.

The straight line speaks of its upward fight

and learned crystals sing their geometry.

Yet the rose too in the garden where you live.

Ever the rose, ever, our north and south!

Calm, intense like an eyeless statue,

blind to the underground struggle it causes.

Pure rose that frees from artifice, sketches,

and opens for us the slight wings of a smile.

(Pinned butterfly that muses in flight.)

Rose of pure balance not seeking pain.

Ever the rose!

Oh Salvador Dalí of the olive voice!

I speak of what you and your paintings tell me.

I don’t praise your imperfect adolescent brush,

but I sing the firm aim of your arrows.

I sing your sweet battle of Catalan lights,

your love of what might be explained.

I sing your heart astronomical, tender,

a deck of French cards, and never wounded.

I sing longing for statues, sought without rest,

your fear of emotions that wait in the street.

I sing the tiny sea-siren who sings to you

riding a bicycle of corals and conches.

But above all I sing a shared thought

that joins us in the dark and the golden hours.

It is not Art, this light that blinds our eyes.

Rather it is love, friendship, the clashing of swords.

Rather than the picture you patiently trace,

it’s the breast of Theresa, she of insomniac skin,

the tight curls of Mathilde the ungrateful,

our friendship a board-game brightly painted.

May the tracks of fingers in blood on gold

stripe the heart of eternal Catalonia.

May stars like fists without falcons shine on you,

while your art and your life burst into flower.

Don’t watch the water-clock with membranous wings,

nor the harsh scythe of the allegories.

Forever clothe and bare your brush in the air

before the sea peopled with boats and sailors.


30 December 2012


Dear Lady — 

There is something not quite definable in your face — something lovely, not pretty in a conventionally thought of way. You have something graceful and tender and feminine (sp). You seem to be a woman who has been loved in her childhood, or else, somehow by the mystery of genetic phenomena you have been visited by the gifts of refinement, dignity and poise. Perhaps you cannot be accredited with all that.

Irrespective of your gothic aspects, you have passed something on in terms of your expression, mien and general comportment that is unusual and rewarding.

It’s been a pleasant if brief encounter and I wish you well and I hope we shall have occasion to cross eyes again sometime.

Best wishes

Marlon Brando

29 December 2012

Zelda to F. Scott Fitzgerald 1919

Spring 1919


Please, please don't be so depressed -- We'll be married soon, and then these lonesome nights will be over forever -- and until we are, I am loving, loving every tiny minute of the day and night -- Maybe you won't understand this, but sometimes when I miss you most, it's hardest to write -- and you always know when I make myself -- Just the ache of it all -- and I can't tell you. If we were together, you'd feel how strong it is -- you're so sweet when you're melancholy. I love your sad tenderness -- when I've hurt you -- That's one of the reasons I could never be sorry for our quarrels -- and they bothered you so -- Those dear, dear little fusses, when I always tried so hard to make you kiss and forget --

Scott -- there's nothing in all the world I want but you -- and your precious love -- All the material things are nothing. I'd just hate to live a sordid, colorless existence -- because you'd soon love me less -- and less -- and I'd do anything -- anything -- to keep your heart for my own -- I don't want to live -- I want to love first, and live incidentally -- Why don't you feel that I'm waiting -- I'll come to you, Lover, when you're ready -- Don't don't ever think of the things you can't give me -- You've trusted me with the dearest heart of all -- and it's so damn much more than anybody else in all the world has ever had --

How can you think deliberately of life without me -- If you should die -- O Darling -- darling Scott -- It'd be like going blind. I know I would, too, -- I'd have no purpose in life -- just a pretty -- decoration. Don't you think I was made for you? I feel like you had me ordered -- and I was delivered to you -- to be worn -- I want you to wear me, like a watch -- charm or a button hole boquet -- to the world. And then, when we're alone, I want to help -- to know that you can't do anything without me.

I'm glad you wrote Mamma. It was such a nice sincere letter -- and mine to St. Paul was very evasive and rambling. I've never, in all my life, been able to say anything to people older than me -- Somehow I just instinctively avoid personal things with them -- even my family. Kids are so much nicer.


The novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940) perfectly captured the spirit of the 1920s. His best-known novel, The Great Gatsby, made him an instant success and subjected both Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, to intense publicity. Much of that attention was negative, dwelling on Fitzgerald's battles with alcohol and Zelda's mental breakdown. It is evident in this letter, written just before their marriage, the extent of their devotion to each other.

28 December 2012

Napoléon Bonaparte to Josephine 1795

Paris, December 1795

I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet, incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart! Are you angry? Do I see you looking sad? Are you worried?... My soul aches with sorrow, and there can be no rest for you lover; but is there still more in store for me when, yielding to the profound feelings which overwhelm me, I draw from your lips, from your heart a love which consumes me with fire? Ah! it was last night that I fully realized how false an image of you your portrait gives!

You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours.

Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire.

In addition to being a brilliant military mind and feared ruler, Napoléon Bonaparte (1763 - 1821) was a prolific writer of letters. He reportedly wrote as many as 75,000 letters in his lifetime, many of them to his beautiful wife, Josephine, both before and during their marriage. This letter, written just prior to their 1796 wedding, shows surprising tenderness and emotion from the future emperor.

27 December 2012

Stieglitz And O'Keeffe 1915

When Stieglitz and O'Keeffe met in 1916, he was 52 and famous — an internationally acclaimed photographer, with an avant-garde gallery in Manhattan. She, on the other hand, was 28 and unknown.

Their letters from the rest of their relationship have been collected and published in the book My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz: 1915–1933 by Sarah Greenough. 

These letters reveal the intensity of their passion, as well as their level of regard for each other as equals. 

As O’Keeffe says, “I’m getting to like you so tremendously that it some times scares me . . . Having told you so much of me — more than anyone else I know — could anything else follow but that I should want you?” 

And Stieglitz writes back, “It’s queer how fond I am of you, not at all as man and woman but something so different it’s very wonderful and it hurts terribly.”

Mary Wollstonecraft to William Godwin 1796

October 4, 1796

I would have liked to have dined with you today, after finishing your essay - that my eyes, and lips, I do not exactly mean my voice, might have told you that they had raised you in my esteem. What a cold word! I would say love, if you will promise not to dispute about its propriety, when I want to express an increasing affection, founded on a more intimate acquaintance with your heart and understanding.

I shall cork up all my kindness - yet the fine volatile essence may fly off in my walk - you know not how much tenderness for you may escape in a voluptuous sigh, should the air, as is often the case, give a pleasurable movement to the sensations, that have been clustering round my heart, as I read this morning - reminding myself, every now and then, that the writer loved me.

Voluptuous is often expressive of a meaning I do not now intend to give, I would describe one of those moments, when the senses are exactly tuned by the ringing tenderness of the heart and according reason entices you to live in the present moment, regardless of the past or future - it is not rapture - it is sublime tranquillity.

I have felt it in your arms - hush! Let not the light see, I was going to say hear it - these confessions should only be uttered - you know where, when the curtains are up - and all the world shut out - Ah me!

I wish I may find you at home when I carry this letter to drop it in the box, - that I may drop a kiss with it into your heart, to be embalmed, till me meet, closer.

(Mary Wollstonecraft, Anglo-Irish feminist and writer, to William Godwin, philosopher and writer. She was recovering from her previous passion for Gilbert Imlay, who fathered her daughter, Fanny, and then abandoned her, after which she tried to drown herself in the Thames.)

19 July 2011

Go away, Moon

Go away, Moon.
There are no Lovers here.

- nagvissie 19 July 2011

26 March 2011


(photo by nagvissie Port Alfred 2011)

"How much of human life is lost in waiting."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

21 March 2011

The Picket Fence

 Housewife ended by picket fence

The surrender of all aspirations for the sake of a picket fence, the relief of the suburbs, the renovatable kitchen and sex once a week. 

This had become her orbit. All academic and career efforts resigned in favour of the comfort and security implied by domesticity and love. The house with three bedrooms that held the promise of being a hearty home, overwhelmed her mind and she looked past the drooping gutters, the single bathroom and the bogged corner of the lawn.

She imagined fabric swatches and paint samples, holding hands in tile depots and covering furniture in bright white sheets for the dust.

But soon she was alone in the silent house, scrubbing at the yellow grout with a nail-brush and holding the plug down in the kitchen sink with a heavy pot.

With careful pleading and dramatic improvement in her cooking skills she managed, within the next five years to add some children to the home she was creating. Her dreams continued to fill a small box on the kitchen counter; pages pulled from decor magazines, pamphlets and flyers for handymen and renovators.

On the last day of her life she read the paper, the news drifting in so far from her reality that it was almost a waste of money buying the information. She had her tea standing up, looking at the kitchen sink and decided that a smaller renovation would make her feel better. One that would fit into her car and food budget but still make the necessary impact.

And that was how she came to have four lengths of ready-made pine picket fencing balanced on the headrest of her SUV that morning when the taxi rear-ended her and the picket fencing slipped forward and separated her, heart from mind.

- nagvissie 21 March 2011   (For my dear friend, TD)

18 March 2011

Broken Pane

The relief when the shattering is over.
Walking over the splinters and shards of the broken pane,
grinding, with small echoes, the initial shock underfoot.

All so easily referred to in the past tense from this position.

- nagvissie 18 March 2011

13 March 2011


I am drowning
out there
between hope
and reality.

- nagvissie 13 March 2011

06 March 2011

The Point

I am freedom fighter writer inquirer
I am granddaughter lover mother
I am cynic skeptic comforter
I am menial labourer and mogul

I am my only advocate and defence

I am muse, sometime friend confidant
I live uncomfortably on the learning curve
I hold forth that solitude is a position of strength
Perhaps someday I will claim to belong

The edges of self-made pedestals cut and crumble

Who are you, at the point of a knife?

- nagvissie 6 March 2011

03 February 2011


my hearts out on the curdled sea
my souls up on the ledge
my cheeks against the sharpest edge

what are you, my love, to me?

- nagvissie 3 Feb 2011

07 January 2011

The Man on the Bench

Your subtlety is overwhelming, he said.
She wasn't sure whether this was a compliment or not.
She sat for some time next to him until her mind came round to his.
She decided she would see him again.

- nagvissie January 2011

Easy Life

(photos by nagvissie Strand 2010)
While I was taking these photographs two Mozambican men stopped to ask why I was "photographing trash". In their country one could always find something beautiful to photograph they said. 
Later when I got to the tidal pool they were there collecting the red starfish. I asked what they were going to do with them. "We dry them and make decorations for rich white people to put in their homes."

- nagvissie December 2010

17 December 2010

The Tea Tin

(photo by nagvissie 2010)

Final instructions:-
Please, for heaven’s sake, check that the Tea Tin actually has my ashes in it before throwing it over the rail. It would be a pity if the lid should open and shower Lipton’s teabags all over the Orange River, instead of scattering my earthly shroud. Also, perhaps see that someone has thought to take my ashes out of the little plastic bag they’re supplied in by the mortuary. Picturing, in slow motion, the Tea Tin lid opening mid-air and the sandwich bag sliding out, little white tie-tag and all, like a bag of chicken giblets, only to plop into the water and sink to the bottom, in tact for all eternity. I may as well have opted for a coffin.

Perhaps it would be best just to wedge the lid down tight. And choose someone with a strong arm to turf the Tea Tin over the edge to avoid any undesirable mishaps should there be a hit and miss of the rail, or the rocks, or the river itself. We wouldn’t want those loved ones who actually do turn up to see me off ending up with grit in their teeth and ash in their eye.

I’ve been thinking about having a stone - something red, Jasper perhaps. Where it stands is not important to me, I’m sure you will all eventually agree on a position. At first I thought that I would like a well carved into it, to catch rain drops. But then it occurred to me that human nature might prevail and incite someone to pee in it. So let’s stay with the rock as it is and not tempt fate.

Yours, everlasting.

- nagvissie December 2010

22 August 2010


There will be nothing
- not even silence -
to mark the turning
of this page.

- nagvissie 22 August 2010

12 August 2010

Slow Fires

Burn the old self from my bones
and build me anew
of ash and tears,
of passion and wind
in the slow fire of your voice.

Prompted by The Layers - Stanley Kunitz

- nagvissie 11 August 2010

05 August 2010

Just Talk

The words just fall out of you.
'I've been thinking about you'
The words just fall out of me.
'I can't stop thinking about you.'

- nagvissie 3 August 2010