By Julia Vaughan

Petticoat in Mafeking

Fourteenth of October, Eighteen Ninety Nine
Ada wrote to her sister, Emily
The great Siege of Mafeking had begun
Four children, under twelve, to keep safely

Fifty-seven letters detail the horror
Dug outs under wagons, surrounded by
Sandbags, the new, safe-home in a hollow
Ninety-six pound shells, dynamite craters
Shelling from three sides, men shooting from two
Crashing through brick walls, making monster holes

A joy to find whole shells that did not burst!
Water supplies cut off, Typhoid kills too.
Cows are stolen.  Paper is scarce, so too is bread.
Relief comes on Thirteenth of June Nineteen Hundred.


26 bones
Dainty, plodding, neat, or sprawling.
Ballerina’s bunioned, bound in satin
Policeman’s pounding pavements
Model’s mincing down long catwalks
Gran’s gnarled knuckles, still working fine.

30 joints
Young and mobile, arthritic and crackly
Flexion to extension, rotating or frozen
Osteopaths know what’s best
To maximise what we’ve got
Move it or lose it has never been truer.
More than a hundred muscles
Tendons and ligaments
Working together for
Yoga poses and marathons,
Walking hallways at night
Sprinting for trains departing soon.

My feet need love
They ache and crunch.
Finding bliss
Barefoot on sandy beaches
Sinking into lush lawns
Fragrant oily massages

Watermelon pink varnish.

70% Cocoa

inspired by Karlin G Love piano solo

Dark chocolate
Vegan friendly
It’s lure is infinite
Desire so elementary

Melting bitterness
No restraint
Lingering sweetness
Perfect on a Valentine’s date

Dark chocolate
70 percent cocoa
Fair-trades co-operate
Be good to the planet is all the go.

70 percent of the world’s cocoa
It’s hard to believe
Grown in four African countries
Low food miles hard to achieve

Fantastic if it’s organic
Flavonoids a plenty
Anything more romantic?
Nibbling another square gently

Melting bitterness
No restraint
Lingering sweetness
Can’t stop after row eight!


Off to the mountains
Breathe Nyanga air

Crisp. Fresh. Cool.
Off grid.

Paraffin fridge and lights
Mesmerising wood fire.

Bracken Hills Dam
Trout fishing until dusk

Jackals circling ever closer

Walk through forests
Feral pine and wattle

Grassy hills
Dogs gamble and run.

Lichen covered granite boulders
Perfect picnic seats.

Peaches and apricots
Taste better than ever

Almost freezing Gairezi River,
Sparkling clear and gurgling.

The rock you found in the middle,
Water smoothed for eons

Wood fire heated steaming hot water
Deep soaking baths.

Languid afternoons
Clouds coming in the windows!

Forget the world.

Fall deeper in love,
Become engaged.

Diamonds at Troutbeck Hotel
Joy of unexpected telegrams.

Julia Vaughan moved to Australia with her husband in 1989, and began writing poetry after attending inspiring Victorian Surf Coast U3A “I just don’t get poetry” classes. Having poems dotted sparsely across the internet, she dreams of becoming an accomplished poet. When not dreaming, she can be found walking the beaches with her two Vizsla dogs.

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