Falling Free

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I used to be afraid of just one thing
Fear of falling from great heights imprisoned me
I imagined stumbling then falling, never waking
I used to dream about falling and breaking on rocks far below
I was always taught the only way to overcome fear is to face it,
I needed to look deep within and find that courage
Our family had looked at death so many times,
How could a mountain overcome my faith in courage
Climbing mountains I found my place of peace
But looking down a mountain made my hands slick with sweat
How ironic that the same place that offers you peace
Can freeze your soul in a prison with gates of fear?
Then one summer’s day with the sun burning down on my mountain
I took the first step to facing my greatest fear
My skin was clammy with cold, rivulets of fear dripped down my back
I watched as crazy people threw themselves off the mountain
Suddenly I found myself sitting on the hot rock
Someone was tying straps and chains around me
I had sudden visions of being bound and chained
Thrown from my place of peace, how could I fall free, chained?
Then a voice broke through my reverie and told me to step out
I opened my eyes and looked down, nothing but empty blue sky was before me
My legs were swinging and there was nothing but cool air there
My vision spun and I thought I was going to faint, I stepped off onto a ledge
There is a time in life when you face mortality and know you are not strong enough
As you stand suspended, a reflection of weakness stares back at you
Covered in shame, you have two choices staring back at you
Jump or step back and accept your weakness
I was in that time standing on that mountain ledge
Looking up, I found myself surrounded by jagged peaks, windswept grass
I saw an eagle far above me flying free and I reached my place of peace,
With my heart in my throat, I stepped off the ledge into blue sky
I felt wild and free, I was falling free, This might be the end, This may begin
I learnt the truest lesson that day, fear is but a ledge you can choose to
step off

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Whirlpool

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You were helpless but determined
This stroke had you in its quiet prison
but your mind was ready to break free
I can not imagine what you are going through
Trapped in your own body, confused by your own words
I can not understand why you do not fight, I will fight for you
You called out today, not wanting my help
You had no choice, you lay unmoving on the bathroom floor
I picked you up, you felt heavy and fragile all at once
You cried, not looking at my face, pushing me away
I understand, you didn’t want me to see you like this
My heart ached but I knew the last thing you needed were tears
You railed with us every day, asking, demanding answers why
I have no answers for you, this question has confused me
Your anger lashes out at us, your family, you can’t hit at fate
Slowly your anger burns a hole in your heart
You are left burnt out by the rage, there is nothing left
You are left a naked shell, all anger, all fight stripped away
Now every morning your soft crying wakens me
You don’t want to eat, you don’t want anyone here
Your body has become your prison, your chair has become your enemy
I feel you sinking in the grips of death’s twin, despair is her name
I can feel the whirlpool sucking you deeper, I have to hold on to your hand
I will fight for you, You cannot fight for your soul, We will fight for you
People who know nothing of this living hell give us advice
Their words are meaningless and worth nothing but a burial in dust
They say we need to put you away, this would be the best thing
I refuse to give in, you taught me that love was stronger than fear
We refuse to give up on you, we each hold onto a hand and pull strongly
The whirlpool threatens to swallow you, I plead to the One greater than this
I call out to you and your face turns to me, you smile and I see arms
cradling you
I am not ready to give you up, you still have so much to teach me, I will
fight for you…

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Touching Mortality

Everything shattered with the ringing of a phone
The unthinkable had happened,
Death had stretched out his hand and touched my family
Now we were pawns in a game where loss was not an option
I do not remember much before that phone call
It is as if a whole space opened up within me
I have never filled that space, it remains a vacuum of forgetting
I do not remember much of the drive to the hospital
My thoughts were a swirl and already my soul was bent, pleading, begging
Fear walked beside me but I walked ahead of its silent tread
I remember standing at the door of a room white with cold
The clean smell of antiseptic filled me with revulsion
Time caught me frozen in her trap, fear watched and I stepped in
You lay like a helpless child, sheets up to your chin, plastic tubes covered your face
It looked wrong, you were stretched on your back, I knew you’d be uncomfortable
I walked towards you, I could hear nurses whispering in the background,phones ringing
All else disappeared around us, I sat on your bed and looked into your face
You recognised me, they warned me you might forget, but you knew your little girl
Your eyes were wild that first morning, the hunter had you in his sights
I wanted to shout out and have him aim at me, make me his prey, not you,
never you
Here you lay, the woman I owed my life-blood to, helpless and fragile
I had never seen you lie so quietly, I could feel death’s touch in this room
I took your hand in mine, I had to hold it with both of mine without letting it fall
You looked at me then and I could see my mom hidden behind a dark veil of
fear
With a look I tried to tell you we would win, death had no place here
Did you understand me mom? Did my love penetrate your fear’s prison?
I sat there for three days, it felt like three hours, waiting for you
The first time I looked away, you gripped my hand with your left
I heard my name barely whispered, my heart stopped and ecstasy filled my
soul
It was the sweetest sound I had ever heard, you gave me my name all those years ago
Now I heard it from lips I was told would never talk again, it was the first
victory
Mama…That day the phone rang, death touched us; our love chased him away…
Mama…

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

My Heart Aches

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I dream of a land of violence and passion
My land holds my history
My land keeps my secrets
And at the end My land is full of death and life
I dream of baking sunshine
A place where I sit on rocks and am
Deaf at the ocean’s roar
My eyes see far and vision has no borders
I dream of the cold reptile
It slithers along with a gentle danger
This serpent is like my land I dream of
Cold, warm, death, life, history…

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Never Say Goodbye

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I remember the day I left you
The heavens opened above me and
Wept black storms of sorrow
I remember the day I left you
That first morning I woke early
I crept out in the dark of night
You had violins playing as
I sat and watched you wake up
The morning was slow in coming
As the sun bathed you in his warmth
My breath caught in my throat at your beauty
The morning was slow in coming
As tears rolled down my cheeks
I wondered how I could say the words
Did I tell you that I did not want to go?
It hurt too much to stay and watch you change
I never will say the words
It breaks my heart to say goodbye
Mountains will move before I call another home
I never will say the words
Though I am not with you
You remain a part of my dreams
I will forget who I am before forgetting you
You are my mother, father, husband, birth, death
South Africa…My truest heart
I remember the day I left you
The morning was slow in coming
I never will say the words
I will never say…goodbye

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning

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Drakensburg Triptych | Night

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I do not have a name for this feeling,
This deep wide open space within me
My eyes search for blood saturated sunsets,
My mouth yearns for the raw taste of dust.
My ears listen for the screech of crickets
They hear the rustle of grasses
My skin aches to feel the gentle heat of its sun
I see endless plains behind the veil of closed eyes
I dream of the acridly fresh smell of a summer storm
My spine shivers as the sky turns dark green
I watch forks of electricity shock the noon sky
And the ancient dragon cocoons into a blue chameleon
An eggplant curtain is torn open as showers of hard stones bruise the earth
Steam rises as the hard ground melts before baking
I fall asleep to an orchestra of sound and chaos
Crickets screeching, frogs bellowing, snakes hissing
I hold my hand in front of my face and all I see is a vacuum of shadow
The eye cannot measure the boundaries of this night shadow
Only the fireballs of space draw its shadow in pieces of light
These ancient guards of the night know the depths of Africa’s soul
As I know the untameable wildness within my African heart…bani gama lako

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Drakensburg Triptych | Afternoon

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I feel dreams cascading down the waterfall of my memory.
I feel the power of life terrible in its fragility.
I look inside myself and feel the whisper of sadness raining beneath tears
of joy.
I close my eyes and I am covered in sound.
I remember the strength of Africa –
An aged land that holds the key to the mysteries of life and death,
Love and hate, joy and fear, quiet and chaos.
I shut my eyes and see the brilliant white light caught in the forked
lightning
As the air crashes around me with the thunder of her power.
I hear the echoes of silence caught between the whispers of God’s heartbeats
Then Africa rains, freely and unashamedly she mourns the death of another day.

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Drakensburg Triptych | Dawn

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Lost in the mists of time
The dragon lies sleeping,
His hot breath forms clouds
Holding the fierceness that is his beauty.
Dawn dances over his scales
As his muscles ripple in harmony,
Her soft light touches each horn
And his heavy tail slides into sight.
The walls of air fade into sky
While dawn blushes in joy,
Her lips curve into a smile
Anticipating his wakefulness.
As dawn’s sweet singing
Fills the dragon’s lair,
His eye opens to gaze on her
With a passion aflame with fire.

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.

Images

Pieces of broken glass
cutting into your hands
A mirror image of perfection
– just shards of imperfection –
An image cast in glass
a shadow lost in ideals;
A heart lost in shadows
a past haunting the spirit.
Beware the mirror image
look for the shadow hiding
A perfect crystal holding
a deadly mask of hurt.
Falling into space and time
melding into your dreams;
Fall for the princess
wake to the pauper.
Time has no meaning
and love has no truth;
One is left with the bare nudity
of a soul in need.
Look behind the perfection
look behind the ideal;
You’ll find a human being
just someone lost and unloved.

Published 2002

-Emotional Journeys, Anthology of Verse,

Poetry Institute of Africa

© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.