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today the chilly awareness of grey


today the chilly
awareness of all shades of
grey      cloud grey  mist grey   seagull grey  feather grey
              water grey  wave grey  foam grey
         rock grey  pebble grey   rock crevise grey
            sand grey    shell grey      crushed shell grey
              has found my senses
at this place today:   kayser’s beach  34km west of
east london    eastern cape     south Africa   32°58 south
where in the exposed tidal zone

in crushed shell sand

my feet are wriggling itself


©Susan Smith


“There is dual tension at work in […] bioregional poems.  At some moments the poem is an account of the world-as-it-is, at other moments a idiosyncratic self emerges like a sprite.  Yet, the poem announces a concerted effort to write as a way to displace self from phenomenal experience. “   It is striving towards“[…] a poetics in which these two acts – of being, and of ‘letting be’ – work in concert. “  The use of “[…] the journal as a site of poetry, time – marking and framing the place and materials surrounding the writing.  With […] clarity, the here and now surface:  native animals, plants, waters, people, moon and sky interwoven with thoughts, the mind working.  The poem is porous, a duration.  Not a slice of life, but an instance of inhabiting […]a site of ecological being.” Russo, Linda. (n.d.). Writing Within:  Notes on Ecopoetics as Spacial Practice.  In:  How2, 3(2).



My skin is wrinkled up

with living, landscapes

of experience unfold under

my breasts.  I count the scars

of being lover, being mother, womb.

I finger sorrow’s little traces

in my greying hair.  I am her:

ageing:  my body the map

of stories and struggles, arranging

and changing herself

into words.    Only now

it is, that I can imagine this:

that I am perfect.

©Susan Smith

what I need to say



what I need to say

is:  this is me

these are the women I come from

this is the line of my blood

theirs are the names I whisper

in the name of my daughter

they carry me like a queen

in their big bellies they carried me

and I became beautiful with all their longing

and all their sweetheart dreams for me

my life is wide with all their hope

we live wide and hopeful

my daughter and I

©Susan Smith

naked and new


my words are heavy

with the weight of meaning

my head carrying a childhood of memories

I always end up rolling each sound on my tongue

with my eyes closed, I speak

naming the me beneath the skin

putting it on a page

naked and new

©Susan Smith