Monday 22 March 2021

Five Poems by Pam Muller




Flames devour a feast of fallen branches,

robbed from the depths of the dusky forest.

A lick, a hiss, the quick fire dances.


In her dank deep cavern, a smoky kitchen,

in lichen woods, among the seeping rot.

Black cat eyes a smoldering cauldron.


Wild garlic and chanterelles found in leaf mould,

gathered herbs let loose their woody spices.

Tabby lays a brown rat on the threshold.


Shadows warp the walls, a figure takes a ladle,

From a bat-winged sleeve crooked fingers stir the pot,

Pointed hat askew, black as a demon’s nostril.


A twist, a pinch of this and that. A watchful owl,

A hum, a hymn, mingling. A leather wing

folded in. Long nail tapping a hungry bowl.



The Pond


From the sky, ducks come with rubbery feet,

tip upside down for a beak full of weed,

parlay with the fish.

On the agenda - tadpoles,

flies and gliders,

and who gets the crusts thrown by old men.


Old men with rattling coughs,

meet every day on the bench,

share memories of air strikes,

rippling peaty water,

raising stuff best left

deep-rooted in mud.


Fish say, scales make good armour,

diaphanous fins

aid quick escapes,

dappled camouflage shelters

Piscean creatures

who winter at home.


The sky is a net, captures


drops hailstones, wishing coins,

paper boats for drowning,

brings noisy creatures,

telling tales of great faraway oceans.

All talk and bursting bubbles.

Strands and filaments


Contemplating Einstein’s wayward hair


strands of tousled cogitation


u    n   s   c   r   a   m   b   l   i   n   g


mental energy made manifest


a halo of  s - t - a - t - i  - c  electricity


outward           reaching          quantum          leaps


revealing mathematical comprehension of cosmic conundrums


conduits of wisdom deep-rooted in his brain


threads of philosophy emerging


native intelligence


transformed visual

Games from an African Childhood


After breakfast our mother shoos us

outside to play. Already too warm

we cast jumpers wherever they land,

fling ourselves into the day.

Bare feet crunch a veneer of dried dew,

leave prints, with crumbled edges,

feel cool, powdery soil beneath,

that will get too hot to walk on by midday.


We scrape the ground with a crooked stick,

draw a wide spiral, a witchs house.

Tiptoe along dark, chilly corridors,

lest the cowled one awakes.

Always taken by surprise when someone yells,

Witchys coming! Run the whorl round and round,

hearts pounding, to freedom, never thinking to break

through the walls of our imaginings.


The sun is hot outside the witchs house

as we wander off to play another game.

The spiral lies flat, will be smudged by days end

by dusty feet, dogs paws and bicycle wheels.

We play hide and seek, buy mud pies with leaf money,

suck pollen from flowers, eat berries off the hedge.

Forgotten, until after bath and bedtime stories,

her hooded cloak surfaces to stalk our dreams.


Death is Petulant


I was renowned in mans dominion,

By long tradition of shamanic rite.

I led the wounded, sick, the young and aged,

Walked all to the threshold, one and the same.

Was a time I moved graciously among them,

Crowned with legend of my noble vocation.

Ululating women prepared my way,

A wake of incense and keening.



No longer am I spoken of in awed voices,

Now I’m despised, they endeavour to cheat me.

Rival my sovereignty, push me aside,

Cold hearted, they would forsake me.

I will not be vanquished, I have my pride,

I brood in shadow, I sharpen my scythe.


Pam Muller was born in South Africa and had been living near Sneem, Co. Kerry, Ireland since 1978. Her poems have been published in Speaking for Sceine vols 1 and 2, Clear Poetry 2016, Lillipoh Anthroposophical Magazine, Boyne Berries 24, The Curlew – Betula 2018 and Crataegus 2019, The Haibun Journal issue 1,3,4. She won the Speaking for Sceine Poetry Chapbook 2014 prize and the original prize in 2015. Her early poems appear in ‘Perspectives,’ 2005, a joint collection of poetry with her husband Etienne Muller and son Michael Muller - a self published anthology She is currently looking for publication of  her first collection of poetry.





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