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Image by Ergita Sela


Women Laughing on Beach


Fold the ragged edges back in on themselves,
To resemble again the whole.
There is use yet, for that which was almost rent asunder.
There’s a beauty when we share fear and pain.
They unite us instantaneously, perhaps stronger than love can.
No, there is no difference, those shared vulnerabilities, are merely the jagged edge on the other side of the smooth, intact part, that we call love.
I heard her before I saw her.
Robust, opinionated and full of unasked-for advice.
Some of it more sound than sound.

Vulnerability folded to the inside.
Trite folksy clichés mixed with the deep contemplations of others, with slight insight, from incidence and mishaps that add up to an almost accidental wisdom.

That succeeded in the end,

because the profoundly confident and unsubtle movement of wagging tongue and wagging finger, came from a warm heart, even while the edges are jagged with the wear of life.

And don’t we all have that inside where we fold the ragged edges in on themselves?

Maybe those parts will never heal back the way they were.
They heal into something grown.

Who can say which is better?
The question comes unbidden, but is of no value, because
God makes all things good.

That which was never torn,
and that which was torn.

That which is bent, is not broken,
that which is smouldering irresolutely,
is not extinguished.

That which is far from glorious,
which is so small again,
which is stained with the shame of failure,
despite everything we’ve learnt.

In that, be honest and accept it.
Fold it in,
not the bitterness, that claims many but deserves no part of anyone,

No, not that,

fold in the brokenness,
that can belong,
that cannot bewitch
but can bejewel.

That is not recognised at once,
that doesn’t shine with a blinding radiance,
but that with the right light,
illuminates the eye,
so that somehow...

the eye is able to see.

estledaire 21.03.22

Romantic Couple

Where have these gentles of just-slid silence come from?
Where could they be going in the rain-flame crackling the trees?

Luxuriating in motionlessness, in possibilities,
Stationary leaps formwards,
shining treasures alight my eyes,
myself hugging my
quivering diamond throbbing to be touched.

Untame me!
Erupt the joy ride!

Speak other languages,
tongue and hands dance
like rain-flame crackling trees.

Your face in my hands,
your words I will follow
to their source
and try it,
my love?
Will I?

estledaire 19 December 1995

london dream

did London dream of me?

Did London Dream of Me?


Did I sigh in my sleep?


Did the gaudy lines of the cables that sprout in the dark;
growing along sooty tunnel walls, where metal carriages are dragged,
stretch electric fingers to beckon me into the flickering, fingerprinted
reflection of a smudged sliding door’s sacrifice,

which drags me into an unwilling (a)wake?

Did London close it’s eyes?


Fast snails, streaking dirty lead over unending horizons of advertising.
Deeply packed bodies generating unnatural doses
of natural heat,
enough to power the myriad of lights that wink from the surface of the turmoiled, tamed Thames,
back to Westminster bridge,


Ninety nines and ninety nines of watery lights for each Big kilo of the weighty hour-echo-snore.

Did London’s head roll onto my shoulder, mouth gape?

I have to avert my eyes for embarrassment,
study intently the faded satin trim of a priest's robe,
and unroll the original, bright crimson satin ribbon,
dribbling it's unravelling, behind us,

tearing down an infinite darkness,

all the while establishing a barrier of fruit between myself
and the elbows,
the armpits,
the tissues that turn black with leaden snails trails.

the dream, I know flooding acres above me,
me, acres underneath the loud ground.


Did the head on the shoulder sigh?
Not I?


Did I dream of London?
I stood with my feet in the river, towering over the hunched bridges and dwarfed wharves,
bending, I could pick up a black taxi,
turn it over to find a “Made in China” sticker stuck there somewhere hotter,
by a sad and sweaty child,
who had no more to do with here than I.
(Sugar Snips)
(Snail Spice)

I sleep in yesterdays stained with todays and walk in todays stained by yesterdays,
it’s all too achingly acred underneath unsacred
to feel,
when it bites the unsmoking heel
that stubs out the cigarette butt
on the chewing-gummy, gob smacked pavement,
where too many feet who don’t know you, queue,
and can’t be counted.
(Countless Snips, Snipping)

Churches arch their backs under the impersonal rumours of oranges and ring orgasmic bells.
Rivers of metal squeal together in intercourse,
ejaculating welding arcs.

I turn the crystal dome upside down,

seeing the “Unmaid in China” sticker
and when I turn it right-side up again
small drifts of ash down,
onto the tiny, red telephone booth
where, giant microscopic eyes probe the obscenely miniscule calling-girls calling-cards,
pictures show them touching their public parts.

What has it all to do with me?

I broke on Baker’s Street
St Martin’s bells echoing in my ears that I
fell into failure

The tube of private tears was squeezed
to wet public cheeks
Convinced in losing never had love,
discovering unloseable had love requiring no unfailure.

Don’t grumble in your sleep Sugar.
You may wake to find London dreaming of you.

estledaire 1998 - 2015

Night Train_edited.jpg
tube reflections

tube reflections

I was looking out of the window of the train to Waterloo Station, not really seeing the patch of trees below, which seemed especially green in contrast to the grey of the surrounding graffiti-scarred concrete.

Not really seeing it, until an adjacent-running tube overtook us, abruptly cutting off my green-tinged reverie and I was suddenly startled by a spectacle which made me wonder how I had ever missed it before on my daily journey past this spot, and how, even a second before, I had not seen it.

A huge crystal greenhouse had grown up to surround and house the trees protectively. It was like looking into another world, “perhaps”, my city-satiated mind fancied, “like looking at the last patch of nature on earth, carefully preserved and it, itself, happily oblivious to the pollution–stained lives that would pass it, unseeing, everyday.”

It was only a momentary construction, a product of a late night in collaboration with a distracted imagination and the metallic line-and-coach-sheen, reflected by the passing tube’s windows.


Now I’m on the tube listening to my new tape, wondering if I’m one of those people who everyone on the coach is smiling awkwardly at each other about. You know, the ones whose tiny earphones amplify tinny music further than their ears and allow odd notes, or beats to escape into the silence of the surrounding commuters.

I can’t tell because I’m safely wrapped inside the music and cannot hear what it sounds like to those outside my cosy cocoon. To those with only the squeal of the tube on it’s track, a subdued cough or restrained sneeze, to relieve the politeness-strained quiet.

I can’t tell, but I wonder if I am now one of those people who everyone is frowning disapprovingly at each other about. You know the ones with the too-loud Walkmans. Maybe I’m one of those now and everyone is frowning as they are forced to be unwilling and embarrassed partakers of my private world, just as I am an unwilling, if oblivious, sharer of it. Is that why the middle-aged man on the opposite seat is glaring at me and fiddling with his wedding ring?

I’m on the point of feeling uncomfortable, I almost forget to listen. Without my permission, my fingers start surreptitiously toying with the wire dangling below my chin, ready to follow it as it plunges to somewhere deep inside my bag. I’m not fooled by their feigned casualness, there they want to fumble, embarrassingly, for the elusive, volume control dial on the side of the Walkman.

But, as they reach the opening of the bag and just as the man gives his wedding band a particularly savage tug, I let go of the wire.


I decide I don’t really care because (thanks to the strangely curved reflection of the window behind him) by moving my head slightly, and not even disturbing the music, except to make the wire from the headphone slap taut against my cheek,

I can make his scowl-infested head grow upwards, like a fungus, reaching towards, or even touching an identical downward growing pate, which jumps…or oozes (depending on how fast I move back and change the angle of vision) to meet it’s symmetrically glowering counterpart below.

estledaire 1999



Sometimes I can smell you.
Is it my imagination?
I thought someone was wearing your fragrance;
like fresh lemons broken open,
like a pale, yellow dress;
but now I smell you in the middle of the desert.

Now I think it is you standing back to me at the hotel entrance,
doors sliding open,
closed, between us,
but he turns….!…..
and it’s not your generous smile.

Now things slip out of my hands and break on terracotta tiles,
and the countries that rise and fall before me,
like forgotten dreams,
are superimposed with your face;


a serious vein seaming your temple,
your eyes hiding thoughts I want to unlock,
only hints of the secrets of your heart
sometimes gleaming in the delighted smile
that transforms your face into that of a young boy,
glowing in a song.

Are you everywhere, everything?
I have never been here before, yet I know the pale, yellow grass
and dark secret earth that hides in shadow
until the sun sings it into the glow of a young boy’s smile.

Is it my imagination,
or did a bottle of your fragrance slip from a giant’s hand
and break on these Spanish plains?
Is the pale yellow I see the drying liquid
whose scent fills everything that was empty?

Now you are part of these dominions.
Now you own everything I see and hear:
Now it is you I am travelling through,
a foreigner, unsure of my welcome in this land that I fear
and yet am irresistibly compelled to know.

Sometimes you touch me again.
I am in the gardens in Florence and your hands are on my shoulders,
your breath is on my neck,
and I find myself broken open and
falling into the broken-lemon fragrance of you.

I don’t know if it is just my imagination,
but sometimes;
as I move northward and meet the winter,
through whose hands pale, yellow leaves slip;

I am almost certain,
that I can smell you.

estledaire 1998

Sketch of a young man, by estledaire
come back

come back

Landscape with Animals_edited.jpg

We walked past horses, enslaved and again freed.
We passed them in the fields, and didn’t recognise their potency.


We wrapped our nakedness in white gauze, so that,
had we been looking,
we could only have seen
the portent of our potence,

We turned God into a petulant autocratic baby,
pouting because nobody came to his party,


We didn’t say goodbye to each other,
nor ever really hello,
But we bought that car,
that house,
as we paved all the walkways,
that never gave way to walks.

Didn’t replace the broken string of silenced music,
and wondered if that was a scream we heard.


Get a debt,
This is what our existence depends on.
nine to five, eight to six,
seven to 7
to 11.

This is what our existence depends on.

Don’t stop by.
Don’t say hello or goodbye.
Don’t stop! Buy!


Buy a mask.
Hide the portent of grace,
and the face.



but as long as your eyes meet mine,
we see the corner crinkles of warmth,
we can remember what lies behind the travails.


Look, maybe a heaven freed from vapour trails
will help us hear again the sky.


Come back, my first love!
I want to free a horse with you!


estledaire 21.05.2020 -

rotated teddybears

rotated teddybears

Happy Children

You rotated your teddies in bed each night,
Made sure not one of them might,
get jealous, hurt or heartsore,
thinking you loved another more.


In blind-man’s bluff, you didn't give away the game,
as I silently hung from the door frame,
you didn't tell them of my hiding place,
though it meant you lost the chase.

We pulled back our lips once we'd sung,
our mouths stained slush-puppy blue,
I laughed as you wriggled your tongue,
long before I knew what else it could do.

Your eyes got that red stare,
from the pool chlorine that bleached our hair,
in summers, as long as your legs,
in summers as long as your legs.

We rotated our teddies and our legs grew.
And it’s nothing new, (it’s all I knew)
We rotated our teddies and our legs grew.
Didn’t know you were part of the seasons too.
Didn’t know you were part of the seasons too.

I knew you secretly wanted to skip rope with me,
so we skipped school,spent days in a tree.
I took a shine to you, shining up classy
And you mourned with me when I lost my glassy.

Girls swapped paper at the fishpond,
And you snickered, knowing I would respond,
but you let me choose the invitation bond,
for the day we forged our marriage bond.

We rotated our teddies and our legs grew.
And it’s nothing new, (it’s all I knew)
We rotated our teddies and our legs grew.
Didn’t know you were part of the seasons too.
Didn’t know you were part of the seasons too.

Each season promised to bring,
Elastics or collecting and swapping something.
We watching the kids playing hopscotch,
As we took turns with your apple lollipop.
in summers, as long as your legs.

Riding bikes as rain pattered,
Sitting on the roof eating biscuit batter,
Seasons have come and gone,

And one day our legs were long.

Maybe I’ve lost them,
but in my mind,
I don’t find
the names of the marbles you shined.

Elastics sagged, quick sticks slowed down,
those kids skipping rope are no longer around.

We rotated our teddies till our legs had grown.

It was nothing new, it was all we'd known.

We rotated our teddies and I never knew,
Never knew you were part of the seasons too.

Each spring and autumn brought something new,
It was all we knew, they were all too few.
Didn’t know you were part of the seasons too.
Didn’t know you were part of the seasons too.

And like the summers that came to an end,
You’d be gone too, my childhood friend.

estledaire 02.02.2016

Image by NASA

fearful order

The flower bubbled,
as it turned at the centre of the universe of my revelation.

Recognition of the truth fountained into my understanding.

Some spring knew the ocean
and despite having only a knowledge of earth, I felt dry;
everything pants for the sea!

I put my foot on the path, You swept!
I could not see,
yet I fall endlessly and resonating notes whirl in blasting light.
Softly, warmly the pain of joy.



Lost myself …


in Your immensity


Found myself…



in Your love.

each day leaves exultingly demand,
lilies expose their passionate desperation,
a snow robe on a mountain is rendered breathless,
while the rocks and stones real.


in the ecstasy of simple being,
a moths wing shouts as loud as a mighty avalanche
and the pocked rocks are sand-spray-ground by the waves
in a revel tumultuous




Cry out earth that peaks and sea that flats.
World that valleys and ocean that mountains to Him
thrash and scream!

Yet they laugh in the hot culmination of this chaotic,

Do not raise me!
It is honour beyond all my life to wash Your feet.
To even touch You,
cry my tears onto You,
is enough, yet…


No Lord, no!

I fear You make a divine fool of me.
Though I must have You, in this all,
can I ever be anything but a mad, servant woman?

estledaire 1994

fearful order

latent transfusion

Where did you come from,
my child of the morning?
Dawns song sweetly released the balloon of you,
and I am moulded clay again.


Yet, though this tie may be cut,
another thickening one binds you to me,
and you are mould-woven too
into a shape that will pain in its severance;
as you cast the colour of your wings
onto a small patch of warm, dry earth.

I need not think of that now,
only look inside and glimpse the possible you,
alongside the possible me.


snap my silky threads pressed into a pale, yellow heart
that does not beat.
First, myself released, stretch and glide!

Set the edge off my teeth,
and turn to grapes that are not bitter,
so that suddenly the wine
running out of your mouth,as you laugh,
is sweet.

I would you inherited royal joy,
so I will cry a beggars tears for you,
and then launched;


arc :
crimson-life-colour-drawn and mad-joy-breathing,
tongue drawing praises of love to our Lord.


Transformation before transfusion.


 estledaire: 1994 - 1995

Image by Anne Lambeck
latent transfusion

seasonless summer

The long winter dragged till we despaired of there ever being another summer. But there was, and now I know it began because you arrived.

It was as if, especially for you, Cape Town stopped the rain and created a pocket of timelessness. I knew this when the rain, usually so uncharacteristic at that time of year, began again on the day you left.


Summer and magical light touched everything when you were here. Soon after your departure I watched video footage of Lion’s Head just after twilight on Hogmanay. The usual furore from the street quieting temporarily, before gaining momentum again, trying to hurtle toward a new year, as if crashing through the 31st would burst us back into time.


I watched the images on the screen.

Captured there, the sky’s blue almost forgotten, verging on complete black, but a glance of the day still in its deep indigo.


Even when looking at it in that medium, removed from the reality, I could still feel how different the timeless mountain was then, black and dotted with lights, like stars.


Even just thinking about it now, I feel it again, even though that same magic-lit mountain became, for a time, lifeless after you left, Cape Town rendered flat.


Things that were sure before, were pale, insubstantial, they did not provide a good enough reason to justify us having to leave what we didn’t even know.


That seasonless summer was unlike the time that surrounded it, a sparkling prime, bracketed by rain-fall. While we were there, it seemed as though this was the way the world was and always would be, a whole lifetime happened, the world irreversibly changed.


A closed bracket of rainfall and I could not reconcile myself to my life going on as usual, forcing me to forget the unforgettable  to remember the ongoing routine that I wished to forget.


While we were singing tonight, a hush fell so markedly, that it was loud. It was that slowing of everything that is heavy, torrential rain.


And somehow it eased me.

As if I weren’t indoors,

listening as my breathing slowed and heart rate calmed.


As if I were out in the drenching of it,

finding, somewhere in the benevolent storm,

a place dry, but walled by a rain that drowned out all else,


A place, all be it only this quiet, tonight,

in which I could commune with the timeless place
where I met you,
and say goodbye.

estledaire 2002-2003

Copy of IMG_20170419_184720_edited.jpg

Kapstadt, 2002, als ich nach Hause fuhr, sah ich Lionshead vor einem wundersamen Sonnenuntergang silhouettiert und sang vor Freude.

So wurde You geboren, ein Lied, das die Schönheit unserer natürlichen Welt feiert und Dankbarkeit für die vielen Segnungen ausdrückt, die wir um uns herum haben.

seasonlss summer
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