Waters & words


First Rains

Oh September rain

You drench my folded vale.

Your cold and cheerless mist

Like linen, soft and pale.

But you seduce. You persist.

And your verdant prize

Is my Holy Grail.


Gone be fawn and dust.

Out with brown and drought!

It is your sparkling stream for which I lust.

And water for my Trout.

Come grace us with your driving squalls,

And saturate us in your dew.

Oh how I have prayed for you!





A cloudy winter dawn

The first light of day brings honking geese

Hinting at what lies beyond the drawn curtains,

and out across the drab patchwork landscape:

Low slung cloud, and dampened dust,

Odours of dead wet kikuyu grass,

and a wafting hint of silage, hanging in the still morning air.

And farmyard sounds that carry in the silence

Pervading morning memories of childhood on the farm.

Nostalgia nestled in the moment,

Like my sleepy being in this warm bed.



A Stillness permeates your sounds

Your sounds of soulful winds and rushing streams

Of bleating lambs and billy goats

Atop your sun-drenched crags.

An emptiness occupies your deep sliced valleys,

Your paths through sweet scented mountain heather,

Past gnarled and mangled gates, poplar statues

And over your rough hewn rocks.

And comfort lives between your stark white, heavy walls,

Within your cool dark spaces

Over your smooth worn steps, and sagging  boards.

A comfort of memories, peaceful and timeless.


Highmoor in Summer

I perch upon this lofty dome

And touch it’s swirling sky

Whose space about the rippled lake

Is vast, and void of human cry.

The battered Giant surveys the sweeping veld

In stoic, stony gaze, before he’s hid

In carpets of cloud, and dealt

A swath of streaming rain.

The pulsing wind, the towering , soaring storm.

The ripping hurtling hail

The calm, the sun

The lapping waves

Across the wet, whisked grass, comes the flute

Of the startled doe, and the baboon’s bark.

The Lord is here, his voice is heard

Throughout the day, and into the gathering dark.


Creeping Autumn

The swirling mists give way to a pale dry sun

that lights the tall stands of flame dry thatch.

as lady autumn’s chilly work is done,

and the long summer meets its match.

In patchworks across the landscape

The doe seeks out her square of velvet pasture

the fowl finds corn from under winter’s burgeoning drape

and the babbling brook gurgles its last pleasant gesture.

A chilly wind has brushed the yellowing trees

and caused the leaves to flutter to the ground.

The sicklebar has the waving grass on its knees

and the hay now lies beside the field in a mound.

The honking geese are returning early to the vlei.

The evening fires are lit, as the crisp night sky slides in.

and the date is creeping to the month of May

when the frosty veil of winter will celebrate its win.


The loft on a cold September night

There is no place more secure

Than this behind these tiles

When the cold arctic air

Brushes across the silvery hill,

Rattling the chimes, and swaying the pines,

Beneath high streaked clouds,

Reflecting the ice-white moon

Amidst the black satin of the night.

The creaking timber wards off the moaning wind;

The lamp’s warm glow enshrines each gnarled  and knotted board.

The swaying blinds filter the music of the storm

From the stark stripped reality

Of all that which I have elected to forget,

To create a space for the romance and the lore,

For the tapestry and warmth, for memories and more.

For the good and hearty stuff of life.


Foggy Dawn

As I paused on Brigadoon’s banks

To listen to the drizzle,

Silence fell upon the pasture

But for gloomy cows that sighed,

And munched

And the dripping on my hat.

I stopped awhile to take it in

And listen to the river.

As I did it dawned on me,

As slowly as that day had done,

That this had all been here forever.

Standing there with rod in hand

And flies all  a’ready,

I surveyed a dancing glide

And searched for rising trout,

And as I did it saddened me to think

That this would all be here tomorrow

And I would not.


The Combi

After the party, before the dawn,

I was five or six, I can’t be sure.

The hum of the motor, the pull of the turn,

My head on the glass, fuzzy with sleep.

White lines and cats eyes

The grass by the road

White in the headlights, textured and pale.

On our way back from I don’t know where,

The guard in the farmyard, peered in the window

And scared us to death.

Dad brought us peanuts, and disappeared again

Alone in the combi.

Not sleeping.

Waiting for home.

Seat dimples pressed in my face

Beading and holes in fake leather seats.

The same speaker panel

that rattled a tune

And flat window pane

That I stared through on school trips

All dimpled with rain.

Pig ferry

Farm truck

School bus of fame

The Fisherman

There are things that waterside wonderings bring

Like the panting hiss of geese returning for the night;

The whiff of sunken poplar leaves, and ripples in a widening ring ;

The gathering gloom, as the sun drops out of sight.

Through all our working days

There are sounds of water on the shore,

The babbling stream, the slap and suck of waves,

And the glow of fishing tales so full of lore.

The senses are attuned to weather:

There is the ominous gust of wind from the East,

And then those days of calm, with the anticipation that we gather

Or the falling pressure, that we like the least.

Forgive this man his fickle moods and lonesome ways

And on fishing days, don’t expect him home before night

For these very often contemplative days

Mean as much to him, as the very gift of sight


3 responses

  1. Fabulous lines Andrew… I especially warmed to the Loft on a cold September night! Best regards – metiefly

    Liked by 1 person

    April 18, 2014 at 10:32 am

  2. Very nice, Andrew. I too think I need to visit this part of the world…


    January 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    • Thanks Matt. I would be honoured to take you around one day.


      January 31, 2013 at 7:48 am

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