Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Trying to write a sunset without resorting to cliche, I was reminded of a poem today and went in search of it. Turns out that my memory is faulty - there is no sunset in it - but it is still a rather good poem. From EXPLORINGS: A COLLECTION OF POEMS FOR THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF SOUTHERN AFRICA edited by Robin Malan (thanks, mother dear, for introducing me to this all those years ago). Out of print now but still available on amazon and abebooks. The poem in question is WHEN I GO HOME by Damian Ruth:
When I go home
I'm going to find
a stretch of road
in the Karroo
that lies flat and straight for miles.
I will come
over the crest of a koppie
and in the distance see
the windmill and its reservoir
next to the road.

I'll sit on the koppie
and look at it.
On the other side of the earth
under the huge pale blue sky
will be a thin line of purple koppies.
Eventually
I'll hear the insects scratching
and maybe a hot exhausted stone
finally splitting.

I'll walk slowly
towards the windmill,
sometimes on the sticky black asphalt
sometimes next to it,
kicking stones
and lifting puffs of dust.
I'll climb through
the barbwire fence,
strip naked
and swim in the reservoir.
I'll sit in the sun to dry.
After a while
I'll climb back
through the barbwire fence
onto the road again.

I lived in South Africa
for 25 years
and never did that once.

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2 Comments:

Blogger James Long said...

LOL - I lived in South Africa for 24 years and never did that once either!

9:15 am  
Blogger equiano said...

Exactly! But you can just picture it, right? Reminds me of taking the train from Pretoria to Cape Town and watching the sun rise over the Karoo...

3:17 pm  

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