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Marlene J. Bennetts

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Christchurch, NZ

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NEEDLE-POINT LOVE

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

Whenever womb-ache, longing
for children's laughter
to fill empty rooms,
and feel again
dimpled arms wrap
around my neck.
When thoughts of guilt, uselessness,
unloved, and whether motherhood
was worthwhile,
knots my mind.

I count the silken stitches
of the small girl and boy
kneeling on a window-seat
watching raindrops
slipping down glass,
in the picture your sewed...

And scissors of joy
snip away my melancholy.


DANCE IN STILLNESS

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

Two a.m.
Awakening,
I luxuriate
in quietness
of darkened room
that pulsates
with silent energy,
finding true identity
without the demands
of daylight hours.

Sunner Silence

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

Sovereign stillness holds in thrall
the coal-town plateau
where rowans, orange-vested, are caught,
roots raw, chafing from blackberry and gorse.

No ear-soft birdsong invites the air.
The cicadas' rasp is hushed.
Marcasite clouds heave across the sky
to beleaguer towering mountains,
sentinels before the valley.

The grooming field-mouse
sitting on a fencepost,
suddenly dashes for shelter,
as thunder rumbles
and raindrops begin trickling
into earth's cracked sores.

Hope

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

The child's hunger-dulled eyes flash with hope
as he stretches forth a wasted hand
with stick-like fingers, clasping a bowl.

Joy smoothes wrinkles of despair
from his wizened face
when he sees his bowl filled.

He eats slowly,
savouring each mouthful
despite the urge to gorge.

Then, with bulging stomach
momentarily free of hynger pains
and lulled by buzzing flies,
he sleeps, content, on dusty ground.

A shroud of peace
settles over the refugee camp
as reddened sky, retreats in to night...
The child dreams of bowl-filled tomorrows.

The sparrow ( In a hospital ward for the aged.)

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

Day after day,
you wing through
the open windows
and land on the bed,
brown eyes
pleading for bread.
With,
a flick of your tail,
you venture nearer,
on to his wheezing chest.
Then,
wing up and take
some bread from his lips.
And...
momentarily forgotten
is death's pending breath.

Christmas Gift

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

Pallid-faced,
she stared at the envelope
held between trembling fingers.
Familiar the script...
But she dare not hope.

With her mind flash-carding
that night five years before
she caught again the bitter words
cross-fired in anger by her loved ones.

The final bang of the door...
then, nothing,
save heartache, worry
and despair.

Not one postcard
nor a card!
Only nightmare visions
of him incarcerated...
beaten up...
killed in an accident...

Silent tears
snail-tracked her lined cheeks
as she eased open the envelope
and read:
'Dear Mum and Dad,
I know it's indeed been ages
I'll explain when I come home at Christmas.
Your ever loving son.'

Nightfall

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

Beneath a sunset quilt
of orange, pink, grey
and navy-blue.
The mountains bed down
with misty sheets
tucked under their chins.

Sleep, mountains,
with starlit drapes drawn
and the moon
for a comfort light.

PEACE

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

Moved by summer breeze,
waving ferns caress each other
with lover-like gestures
as if in tune to the sound
of water running over stones
from the nearby stream.
Overhead,
two fantails flit up and down
in pursuit of insects.
This quiet place
lulls my city bruised senses.

fantail: small New Zealand native bird with a fan shaped tail.

EYE OF THE STORM

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

Rude tongues of lightning lick the darkened room
And thunder strikes its cymbals in the gloom
As Nature's battling elements above
Crab my thoughts of yet unspoken love.

Electric flashes light your sleeping form
I hear you breathe at ease, despite the storm
Your sighs, more gentle than the cooing dove
Allay my fears and speak to me of love.

My tangled feelings, thread by thread, unwind
And words of tenderness engage my mind
As restless as the gusting wind outside
I long to sakve your hurts owed to my pride.

EYE OF THE STORM

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

Rude tongues of lightning lick the darkened room
And thunder strikes its cymbals in the gloom
As Nature's battling elements above
Crab all my thoughts of yet unspoken love.

Electric flashes light your sleeping form
I hear you breathe at ease, despite the storm
Your sighs, more gentle than a cooing dove
Allay my fears and speak to me of love.

My tangled feelings, thread by thread, unwind
And words of tenderness engage my mind
As restless as the questing wind outside
I long to salve your hurts owed to my pride.

And now the raging storm has passed away
I lie, self-centured, blanketed by night
Impatient for the sun to kiss the day
And witness the love story we shall write.

MOMENTS

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

When there is time
we have nothing to say.
When there is no time
we have lots to say -
Maybe one day
time and words will unit.

DRY DOCK COMPANIONS

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

His frigatge is now
a state home unit.

He taps the window glass.
His faded blue eyes watch
a black and white gull
perched on the nextdoor rooftop.

Opening the window
he throws some scraps.
'We're two of a kind,
he mutters. 'Too old to
go to sea.'

Oblivious of time,
he sits listening to
voices within his mind
and the sound of sea battles:
The echoes span two world wars.

Days later, neighbours
force his door open -
find him dressed
in naval uniform.

The black and white gull,
too, has gone.

THE ESTUARY

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

Nor East breeze
stirs glittering water.
Periscope neck, blsck swans
glide wrinkled surface,
drifting on ebb-tide flow.
Black-backed gulls
feed their chicks
on cockle dotted shore...
summer serenity soothes
loneliness and grief.

Cars silently moving
water-edged motorway.
Sewage pipes -
spurting chemicals and debri-
threatening pollution -
Erases peaceful moments.

DAY'S END

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

Twilight's lengthening shadows cast
fingers of serenity over bushclad land.
Ebbing tide swirling out fast
leaves mysterious images on the sand.

Solitary gull calls a warning cry
or maybe its screaming with fright
as silhouetted against darkening sky
it wings up and down in flight.

Worries and troubles melting away
and eveything seems all right
when the last glow of day
folds into the waiting night.

DAY'S END

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

Twilight's lengthening shadows cast
fingers of serenity over bushclad land.
Ebbing tide swirling out fast
leaves mysterious images on the sand.

Solitary gull calls a warning cry
or maybe its screaming with fright
as silhouetted against darkening sky
it wings up and down in flight.

Worries and troubles melting away
and eveything seems all right
when the last glow of day
folds into the waiting night.

DAY'S END

by

Marlene J. Bennetts

Twilight's lengthening shadows cast
fingers of serenity over bushclad land.
Ebbing tide swirling out fast
leaves mysterious images on the sand.

Solitary gull calls a warning cry
or maybe its screaming with fright
as silhouetted against darkening sky
it wings up and down in flight.

Worries and troubles melting away
and eveything seems all right
when the last glow of day
folds into the waiting night.