Shelter from the storm



Rust grows its red beard aboard the ark.

A hedge-strimmer’s serrated blade leans

Up against the shack’s shelter

Among the planks with foot rot

And the plastic tarpaulin’s blue dimples

Filled with mosquito ponds.

From the crowded occupation of metal and wood,

Bags of cement or compost,

Unused rolls of chicken fence mesh breathing,

Obsolete workshop machinery in stasis,

Iron rakes and sharp nails protruding

From a slatted door that won’t stay shut,

Bins and broken boxes competing damply.

You have to squeeze in to find a place

Where you can stay dry and hold your cup steady

As you sip your smoke grey as the sky.

Green leaves drip down the bordering branches

And everything crowds in

As at a bus stop passengers press together

When the rain makes waterfalls on canopied edges

To curtain off the outside.

Here, webs multiply the tangled view

As angled drainpipes provide their anchor

And for five minutes or more

Respite allows a man his tea and cigarette

Before going back indoors to write this note.


About Bart Wolffe

BART WOLFFE Biography After many years in the advertising industry in Zimbabwe, working with both electronic media and print, Bart developed as an independent writer and theatre practitioner responsible for running workshops throughout the countries of southern Africa until he left in 2003. Organisations he has worked with include the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, the British Council, The Goethe Institute, Alliance Francaise and many more. He brought a team of actors to London and Edinburgh to perform six of his plays in 1997. His work has been recognised widely with awards and reviewed positively in many international publications. His own portfolio, which includes plays and novels and poetry, reflects his passion for giving voice to the voiceless, to minorities and dispossessed individuals. In June 2010, Bart undertook 8 workshops with refugee children from schools around Croydon and at the end of the same year, performed an evening of his writings “The Night of the Underdog” at Ruskin House, Croydon. During Refugee Week, the Victoria & Albert Museum hosted an event where he gave a reading of his poetry accompanied by a traditional mbira player from Zimbabwe. A chapbook essay on exile and alienation was published under the title of FLOTSAM by Exiled Writers Ink. He has been interviewed on BBC Radio since being here as well as by German Radio and an Independent Zimbabwean radio station broadcasting from London to Africa. Most recently, he has been a guest on Croydon radio for Poets Anonymous. His published works may be found on and Amazon. He won a national poetry award in 2013 and has recorded many audio books. He was a resource provider in workshops with schools in Norfolk and London, ran a series of theatre workshops with refugee children in Croydon and has presented his work with a community-based organisation that goes by the name of Moot and whose underlying philosophy concerns staying human in the city. He was also a primary guest speaker for a British Psychological Society seminar. His published plays under the cover of AFRICA DREAM THEATRE incorporate a body of work that express themes such as loss of innocence, discrimination, intolerance and alienation. Since leaving Zimbabwe in 2003, Bart spent two years in Germany before settling in England.
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2 Responses to Shelter from the storm

  1. A steady downpour and a cig, a relaxing scene, nice painted.

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