Welcome to The Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Group

The Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Group – more opportunities for poetry

“So much depends . . .”


The Red Wheelbarrow was launched in January 2021 with a view to providing opportunities for poets, and those who love poetry, to meet and read. Our aim is to provide an inclusive platform for poets from diverse traditions, and at different levels of experience.


We offer weekly Zoom readings every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Evenings consist of a reading by a featured poet, lasting for between 25-50 minutes, followed by a ten-minute break and an open-mic session, in which anyone who’s ‘tuned in’ to hear the featured poet would be welcome to read from their own poetry or from the work of another poet. Depending on the length of the open-mic session, we will probably wrap up at around 9:30 p.m. Your hosts will be the poets Jacques Coetzee, Melissa Sussens and Nondwe Mpuma.


We hope that you can join us in this adventure: we’re looking forward to providing poets with a vibrant space in which to share their poetry.


Yours in poetry,

Eduard Burle, Jacques Coetzee, Melissa Sussens, Nondwe Mpuma



Suggested resources


  • The Red Wheelbarrow Poetry

Brian Walter

From the mangrove swamp

with its rich and static waters,

dark and brown-black blue,

the path snakes through the margin zone

of those worldly yellow hibiscus trees

and quickly out to the clear lap of ocean.

Beyond – across the broad bay sweep –

is the opaque blue mountain

of the bigger island. Volcanic,

silent and softly grand, the great

sulphur gate, hunching its strength,

and waiting…

But here, just in from the sea

– just a lazy stone-toss length –

is a small building, dirty white

and cracked, seeming to be

an unkempt restroom, crouched

with that windowless threat:

and I skirt it, circumspect,

turn to find it is a simple shrine,

light blue walls inside, a ceiling black

with holy candle soot; floor and shelf busy

with icons, crucifixes and fresh flowers.

In this world of such wear and tear,

I find myself in a glade with flitting

hummingbirds and bird song,

where, just steps from our uncertain sea,

a small shrine has candles burning

for Mary, Notre Dame de la Mer.

Allegories of the Everyday, Dryad Press, Cape Town, 2019

Featured on 30 September 2021

  • The Red Wheelbarrow Poetry

Liesl Jobson

Keep it up, Big Boy. Recovery is hard to do. One slip could be fatal. Each step back from the slippery slope and you’re closer to where you must go.

Put on your clothes. Worry not about ironing. Sweep the house clean, but do it only once. Don’t get trapped by laundry.

Copy lyrics onto a piece of paper, folded in your wallet. Even if it’s empty. Especially if it is. Sing the words until you believe them. I’ve got all my life

to live, and I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive, I will survive! Wear your grandfather’s cufflinks. Gratitude will save your life.

You’re just a late bloomer, like that poor schlub in the Bible coming down from a bad trip. Maybe if Jesus had stopped by a week or a month later,

self-care would have been back in place and that herd of Gadarene swine would not have dived headlong into the lake. At least there’d be no conflict

between the church fathers and animal rights activists based on that particular exorcism.

Don’t obsess about good juju and bad. Addiction is epigenetic. Demons are everywhere but you needn’t offer them caviar. Behaviour is learned. Self-

care starts with chocolate. Healing is real. If somebody wants to give you a titanium hip, write a new liturgy, and say thank you. Be your own priest.

Featured on 23 September 2021

  • The Red Wheelbarrow Poetry

Mike Cope

Note: El was the chief Canaanite deity in pre-Biblical times. He had a wife, Asherah. He and their children, the Elohim, were assimilated into the later

conceptualisation of God, but the all-male priesthood appears to have left Mrs God out. The poem is from my novella, The Fall of Ugarit.

How can I speak of Asherah

when there was neither an I who could speak,

nor an Asherah to be spoken of,

when there was only a single life?

How can I not speak of Asherah

when I must speak,

and there is nothing else

that can be spoken of?

How can I compare her

to the pomegranate or the rose?

Apples and dates are useless for similes.

Pure milk is sour beer, fresh dew is mud.

She was my day and my night.

When I opened my eyes,

it was her image that filled them.

When I closed them, it was to dream of her.

I was the right side, and she the left;

she was the front and I was the back,

each giving meaning to the other,

each nothing without the other.

She brought the rain in from her blue sea.

I plucked it from the clouds

and watered all the flanks

of Mount Saphon and beyond.

When I was lost among the oaks

on the flank of Mount Saphon,

she came for me.

She led me to the best path though I didn’t know it.

When I came to the Mountain,

she was already there.

She caught me in her noose.

She tethered me at the summit,

helpless beneath the Sun and the Moon.

Featured on 16 September 2021

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