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 Garden of Earthly Delights

Stephanie Saunders

The Medieval ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’

includes mythical creatures, big fish and birds

and a gyre of livestock, and crowds of thin, pale,

naked people, tangled in an awkward orgy,

which also involves fruit and surreal objects,

the meaning of which is lost to us.

This is shown in a cryptic triptych, flanked by

a panel with Adam and Eve and God, in Eden

(pre-serpent) on the left, with more fantastic

shapes and creatures.

Hell, on the other side, depicts severed ears,

darkness, demons, fire, instruments of music

and torture and a pale self-portrait of

the artist, Hieronymus Bosch, peering out

from behind a shell-limb-branch-thing.

Five hundred years on, our modern earthly delights

would be just as incomprehensible to him:

symbols of wealth, status, power, fashion, sport,

conspicuous consumption, mass media

entertainment, luxury cars, travel, lifestyle.

The orgies would be more explicit,

maybe with less fruit.

The creation panel an abstract painting,

an expression of the ‘Big Bang’.

On the right, the panel depicting hell, would be

a problem. People nowadays create their own.

STEPHANIE SAUNDERS has written poems which tend to be humorous or satirical from her schooldays. She has had poems published in various publications and has featured at the McGregor Poetry festival. Her two collections of poems are The Last Fly of the Day and Placebos. Her other interests include art and the outdoors.

A Whistle At Dusk

Phelelani Makhanya

At dusk;

an old lady jumps off from a bus.

She snails on the bus steps

like she is resisting the descent;

like the bus arrived at her

bus stop too soon.

She left at dawn to queue

for her pension grant.

Like a committed guard,

her teenage grandson is already

waiting at the gate.

She walks towards him

like she is crossing a bridge

made of thatch ropes and broken glass.

She dips her hand

between her breasts.

She pulls a worn-out leather purse.

The grandson’s hand is a hawk;

a predator of all things paper.

He pulls out a stack of banknotes

from the purse.

The old lady casts puppy eyes

on her grandson.

The grandson’s eyes

parade untameable lava.

He throws the empty purse

back at his grandmother’s face.

The old lady walks towards her house

like she is walking in a quagmire of shadows.

She wishes her mud rondavel hut

can run and meet her halfway.

Even tonight, she will be boiling stone for dinner,

as her grandson walks victoriously down the street,


calling for his gang.

PHELELANI MAKHANYA is a writer born is South Africa, Maphumulo. His work has been published in major South African literary journals like The New Contrast, New Coin, Botsotso Journal and Avbob Poetry Project. His poetry has also appeared in The Kalahari Review and Praxis Magazine Online. He has performed his poetry around the country which includes Poetry Africa 2011 and Poetry Africa 2018. He was shortlisted for the 2021 Time of the Writer Poetry for Human Rights. His poem Vapour won the 2021 Avbob Poetry Prize (reflection on COVID-19). He has two published poetry collections, This Time I Shall Not Cry and My Father’s Blazer.

pandora’s box

Sue Woodward

the box is barely noticeable

in the detritus of a stalled canal

a picker, seeking brass

pries at the hinges

they give way under

an inner pressure

the lid shifts to reveal

a slit of dark through which

a mass of scuttling

creatures clamber

frontrunners jostling

elbowing shoving flying

into the grey predawn

their wings uncreasing

stingers unsheathed

they cover the globe at speed

piercing the masks of pickers

politicians dancers philosophers

men at the side of the road

women who set off daily

children alone at home

SUE WOODWARD has been a writer and lover of language since studying English and Psychology at Wits University. After many years of teaching and editing, she now has the time to concentrate on her poetry. This year her love of writing and concern about ongoing gender-based violence and sexual exploitation has culminated in the publication of between the apple and the bite by Modjaji. The collection explores the predicament of women through the millennia, from Greek mythology and the Bible through history and into contemporary times. Sue lives in Muizenberg with her husband Rob and Ruby her dog.

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