begin at the roots

begin at the roots


a voice whispers


at the roots

I am climbing the tree of my life

beginning at the latticed web of its sap-rich roots

reaching for the tubular rivulets that soundlessly gargle their way




to that blessed unknown river


with bare hands and feet I pull myself up

testing adjusting my weight from limb to limb

my winged heart takes flight

catches in my throat

as gravity winks from down below

pausing in mid-ascension I gasp for air

but only find uncertainty there

crude anxieties roil and churn igniting and burning arteries

lava-blood fires deafening rounds of scalding fear


a voice whispers


I listen



I start again

climbing the root-face

aware of a still gaze silently watching me

tentacle-fingers search and fumble

then find and grab a gnarled and twisted root

tentative toes slide into the foothold of a crack

and grip like a rock-sucking-lichen

is this where the light shines in

eyes swim into the swallowing darkness

uneasy in the absence of light

there is nothing else to do but pause


give in to the flow

of the eye’s magic streaming of dark-adaptation

I let go

as the body’s secret knowing of how to calibrate

how to heal kicks in

with pupils open wide night vision reveals her secrets

I breathe again

grateful for the temporary respite

buoyant I float in this weight-bearing sea of darkness

a smile plays on my lips with the question

is this how we find our way


© Bettina Schouw ,Cape Town SA, 15 January 2016.

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