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.
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.
As I paused on Brigadoon’s banks
To listen to the drizzle,
Silence fell upon the pasture
But for gloomy cows that sighed,
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.
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.
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.
School bus of fame
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