Ever Changing Sea of Life


A haphazard jumble of rocks

Edge the tempestuous sea of life.

I’m tossed about

With a smidgen of indecision,

And a squiggle of frustration.

Ready to break the trend

Of defining lines of limitation.

I clamber over the slippery rocks

And cross the tracks of rumbling trains

To explore a world beyond

And expand my mind.

Then return with a tit-bit of difference

To the ever-changing sea –

So full of drama and delight


Nightmare Exam

The invigilator is tall and dark with a post office worker’s moustache.   His face is expressionless, bored.  He calls for silence by banging on the table with a ruler.   I hear the odd nervous cough echoing from candidate to candidate.  I am ramrod still as the question paper floats above my desk. I have no idea what the subject is as I grab it from the air.   I turn it over to discover – Science!  I stare in disbelief – I know I didn’t attend one lecture let alone sign up for the test!

I see my fellow students heads bent, busily dashing down their knowledge onto their answer sheets.

I try to pick up my pencil but it’s too heavy – I can’t seem to lift it.  It’s as if a magnet is holding it to the desk when suddenly it comes away but then becomes bendy and rubbery.  It has an impish face, which looks at it me – it’s long lashes blinking.

“Why don’t you grab me?”

“I’ve tried – you just slip through my fingers”

“Oh for goodness sake, who has the thumb here?”

“Well you keep bending, you rubbery escaper of work!”

“Blame the tool as much as you please.  It’s you who has to take control.”

“Anyway – even if I get you – I won’t know what to write.”

“Just grab and hold on tightly.  I’ll do the rest.   Trust me!”’

The bored invigilator clears his throat and glares warningly in my direction.   The genius scientists scribble on.

I grab the pencil tightly.  My hand takes on a life of its own.  I barely read the questions as it flies across the page and words whose meanings I do not comprehend appear eloquently upon the page.   I hear a giggle of delight from my magic pencil.  A bell rings – time is up.   I sit up with a jerk.  It’s my alarm clock!


#NABLOPOMO 5 Angels at Sea


A drabble tells a story in exactly 100 words. It can be used in poetry or prose. I wrote this one when my hubby nearly drowned after falling off the back of the boat on which he was fishing. 

Angels At Sea

He’s overboard in the icy choppiness of a darkening sea.  Crashing waves and roaring winds drown his cries for help. He gulps litres of ocean and begins to drown.  His finger’s broken; he can’t remove his sea-filled boots and soggy clothes but angels buoy him up.

At the harbour the skipper finds him gone.  Distraught he turns to search the wide, dark, sea. Angels guide him to his mate.

He smells the diesel, hears the engines’ chug and sees the bright search light.  Arms reach down and angels give them strength to yank him back aboard to fish another day.


Spring has Sprung at Spier

Spring at Spier

Parents laze on picnic rugs,

Watching children abandon themselves to play

on the wide green lawn of freedom.

White clouds sail in a pale blue sky.

Trees stand tall in shades of green

from yellow-lime to deep olive.

Taste the spring colours.

Smell the vibrant music.

Bongos sound a rhythmic beat.

Wagtails pipe a jumble of sweet notes.

Geese hiss and honk.

Weavers twitter to their mates,

Spring has sprung at Spier

Spring has sprung at Spier,

Weavers twitter to their mates.

Egyptians hiss and honk.

Wagtails pipe a jumble of sweet notes,

Bongos sound a rhythmic beat.

Smell the vibrant music.

Taste the spring colours.

From yellow lime to deep olive

trees stand tall in shades of green.

White clouds sail in a pale blue sky.

On the wide green lawn of freedom

Children abandon themselves to play

Parents laze on Picnic rugs, watching.


Free Writing – The Friendly People of Kalk Bay

The Friendly People Of Kalk Bay

Playful and friendly are the people of Kalk Bay, from the seller of the rosy apples calling “special for you medem – very cheap – sweet medem- sweeter then mother’s milk” – to the cheerful fisher folk, their cigarettes dangling from the corners of their mouths, smoke gently spiralling into the salty air as they throw their slippery fish onto the harbour wall.  Street urchins playfully dog your steps, singing and dancing until you cannot resist their pleas for a small coin.  Even the restaurateurs smile the friendly Kalk Bay smile as they usher you in with a tempting introduction of the day’s specials.

As you stroll down the street your step becomes springier as your attention is constantly drawn to the next comic character.

Look out at the ocean and watch the dolphins frolicking in the waves; and are those  whales blowing deeper out to sea?

The urchins suffer homelessness and shiver in the cold night.  The fisher folk must struggle for over-priced permits to make their meagre living. Yet the magic of the picturesque village, the friendly jollity of the people infect us with happiness, tempting us out of our small change and making us willingly overpay for the humour of the smous’s sales talk rather than for the sweetness of his apples.


A Drabble

           Lovers’ dance

At sunset near a gurgling brook
I twirl in orange peasant skirt
He pipes a merry dancing tune
We share a secret look

Releasing feelings gay
We bop in leaping flames
It’s fun to take the risk
We leap and laugh and play

Hot passion burns my heart
Emotions in turmoil
We carry on the dance
And feel we’ll never part

We reach for stars and moon
We soar toward the sky
Our thoughts are telepathic
A sweet united croon

The centre of my life
We are in perfect sync
My partner, mentor, soul mate
A dancing man and wife


Puppy Prattles On – What happened to that book?

Today I am starting a new Blog topic.  I will still do my travel blogs and my Back in the Classroom Blog but I feel inspired to prattle on about whatever comes into my head – not related to the classroom or my holiday activities.  The “Puppy Prattles On” entries will be on just about anything that comes to mind – A place where I can “Free Write”

When I stopped teaching way back in 2001 I enrolled in a creative writing class. The intention was to learn the skills I needed to write a book – not just any book – I don’t do the deeply imaginative, brilliant prose kind of fictional stuff – I am more of a tell it like it is, factual kind of writer – and the book I wanted to write was a true story and I’d already started putting down fact after fact.   But at this creative writing course, I had to find my right brain! Now that part of my brain, I believe, is dead.  I am so left brained.   I am logical and methodical and like to have instructions on how to do any task.   I can figure out how to do most things as long as there is a manual with clear verbal outlines on how to go about it.   Don’t give me a map or a diagram though – uh uh – that is just not how I think.   Words are good – pictures are not.  I can’t draw. I can’t read a map.  I can’t sing. I can’t dance (except with my husband).  I am uncoordinated and uncreative.    Now these creative writing lessons were supposed to be relaxed and fun.  They were supposed to get me to dig down deep into my soul and get in touch with my innermost feelings and to let the pencil take control and express beautiful poetic prose.  Sometimes we had to draw – with our non-dominant hand – so we wouldn’t be embarrassed about our efforts.  Well!   I can’t even draw with my dominant hand so imagine my stress when I had to use the wrong one!  When I saw what my classmates produced I could have crawled under the table with shame.   I was definitely absent from school the day they taught us how to draw!

At my first lesson – the teacher said – just ‘free’ write – anything that comes to mind.  And I just wrote and wrote until the timer stopped us.  “Now if you’d feel you’d like to, stand up and read what you’ve written to the class.’  I was quite pleased with my effort but had no desire to stand up in front of all those people.  But many did – without hesitation – and I was gob-smacked – How in three minutes, were they able to write so much, so well?   I could see that I was among talented people here and the only thing that kept me coming was my ‘book’.  It was a good story.  Surely that was enough.

I stuck out the classes for a few years.  I enjoyed them to a point – and I wrote a lot and my writing improved.  But I never got to the level of my classmates, some of whom published their stories.

And did I finish my book – Yes – And I gave it to an editor – a member of my writing class.  She liked the story – but wanted me to re-write it.  She made some good suggestions – But the writing had taken a lot out of me – And I was tired of the topic.   So it is at the back of a cupboard now – I might take it out again but in the meantime, I am avoiding it by writing about everything else that comes to mind.   I hope there are people out there reading this – Welcome and please join me again.


Warthog’s revenge

Warthog’s Revenge

It was at The Boma of Lokatula Lodge, Victoria falls that I had my first taste of roasted wild warthog.

Warthogs – those ugly creatures with features that only a mother could love – seem to endlessly fascinate me.   They look at once both frightening and amusing with those ugly warts covering their odd shaped faces and lethal looking tusks protruding from their jaws.    Their tails stick straight up in the air like little aerials when they follow each other as they race from danger through the bush.   Each time I see them I laugh at their antics especially when they drop to their front knees as they attempt to get closer to the new shoots, which are their favourite food.   At Lokatula Lodge, Victoria Falls, the warthogs roam freely and graze unhindered on the grass frontages of the chalets.  Now you would think that the last dish that I should order at a restaurant would be an animal that gave me so much pleasure to watch in the wild but I wanted to experience all the sensuous smells, sights and tastes of Africa and if I felt a twinge of guilt, it soon disappeared as I took the first delicious mouthful of the succulent meat fresh from the spit.

On the last evening of our holiday my husband and I were enjoying sundowners as we sat and watched the warthogs graze in front of our chalet.  Earl was busy at the braai when a particularly large boar grazed right next to his feet.   I took a photograph of the scene but coveted one of me with my favourite creature too.   But as I carefully walked toward the animal he spooked at my approach and charged.   I saw it coming and ran but his tusk tore into my jeans and I was lucky to escape with only a slight bruise on my calf!   That I mused will teach me to eat his friends.    Beware! If you eat a warthog – he might just get his revenge by trying to eat you!


The Night Wind Woman

A Sapphic is poem with an
unlimited number of 4-line stanzas.   The
first three lines of each stanza have 11 syllables.  The last line has 5.  Rhyming and repetition are not required.

The Night Wind Woman

The night wind woman has become part of me.

She’s a shadow of one who can no more be.

She sails through the house among those she has left.

She whispers to them.


She glides over me and caresses my cheek.

Deep in my soul I hear her silently speak.

We are girlfriends giggling and sharing secrets.

But he doesn’t know.


The night wind woman guides me all of the time

To nurture her children for now they are mine.

She’s passed on the mantle; I wear it with pride.

She watches and smiles.


Over the Hill

Over the Hill

I am getting older, I’m
nearly fifty five.

Over half a century I have
been alive.

I should be slowing down now,
and easing up my life.

I should be getting mellow
like every older wife.

But here I am a-peddling up
this bloody hill.

I hear my grandsons calling, their
voices loud and shrill.

You can make it Granny. You’re
really doing well.

(I do not want to tell them
that I almost fell.)

They think I am their
playmate. They think its rather fun

that Granny takes them
cycling when their homework’s done.

And as they dash through
puddles and do wheelies up the curb

they encourage me to follow;
but really that’s absurd!

They fall and seconds later
they’re back up on their bikes,

a band-aid heals their
scrapes but Granny falls, and  yikes –

She needs a month of physio
to get her muscles right.

So falling off her bicycle
would not be very bright.

Now they’re heading down hill
at a break-neck speed.

Those boys are getting all
the adrenalin they need.

With screeching breaks I
follow at a calmer pace.

“Go Grandma”, calls a smart
ass. Aloof, I turn my face.

I could be baking cookies, I
could be knitting socks.

Instead I join my grandsons
scrambling over rocks.

I could be watching T.V. or
at a ladies’ club.

Instead I join them hiking
when they go  with  the cubs.

I’m glad that I, a grandma
can still do all these things.

Being active with my
grandsons – oh what joy that brings.

We have such fun together out
in the cool fresh air.

And if people think it’s
funny – I really couldn’t care!

October 2007


Fish and Frogs

Fish and Frogs

Little Simon and Shannon Bangay,

At the edge of the lake they like to play.

They paddle and splash and look for frogs.

What interesting pets compared to dogs.


Simon throws rocks in the blue-grey lake.

Birds flee in fright leaving a wake.

Grandpa and Dad fish out on the boat.

We see them out there gently afloat.


Then they call, “Gramps has a trout!

Bring the camera,” we hear them shout.

Si-Si and Shannon run down to see.

They clap their hands and laugh in glee.


Mom and Gran, Gramps and Dad,

A little girl and a little lad

Are here together at Lake Naverone

Its much more fun than staying at home.


                                 By Helen Fenwick

                                13 October, 2007


The drone of the drill


I sit here in my bedroom trying
hard to write

But down the tiled passage I hear
my grandsons fight

Then that becomes all noised out
with the humming of a drill

They’re fixing up my house now and
that is quite a thrill.


The girls are sharing quarters,
tiny squashed and hot

They’re fixing up their bedrooms to
a more delightful spot

The pool is fixed and glassed now,
the patio is paved

Its looking just the way that  I have always craved


But the house is cluttered up with
boxes of our stuff

I sweep and wipe and clean up all
the nasty dust

So writing down a story or putting
down a poem

Is something of  a challenge while they recreate my home.


But soon it will be over and my
house will be a place

Where I can put down words at a
more creative pace

I cannot wait to sit on my
sheltered patio

And let amazing stories from my
pencil flow.

By Helen Fenwick

March 2008