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Tag: heat

At Swartmodder – II

The corrugated roof cracks and moans
In the still midday heat
No breeze breaks this spell
Of shimmering mirage
On the rock strewn ridges
The cows gather lazily
Under the few shade trees
Scattered scantily about
This strange, hot landscape

I lie, exhausted, sweaty
Under this groaning roof
And feel all nature
Press in upon me
Hot, humid, overpowering
The crickets shrill shriek
Arises from their hidden roosts
Piercing this eerie silent Hades
Into which I have wearily journeyed

16/02/1991

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At Swartmodder – I

Moon shining down
Upon a lunar landscape
Of reds and browns and pinks and blacks and greys and greens
Shimmering in the heat
Of a thousand ovens

Quiver trees stand guard
Over vast emptinesses
Of sand and rock
Hot, burning my hands
As I stoop and touch their barrenness,
Their wildness and their loneliness

I feel as if I am alone
With this landscape
Nothing exists but us
Both blown by the same hot winds
Both scorched by the same hot sun
Is there any reality but ours?
15/02/1991

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American Maize

“It’s not as good as ours” he said
We stand looking at new brought trailer load
Of Yankee maize viewed under azure sky
Got from a silo in the town
By road-sore tractor on road-sore roads
“No, it’s not as good as ours.
Look at all these husks and leaves.
I’ll have to get rid of them
Before I can mill them down.”
By I, he means, of course, They
Who long, hard labour for his pay
Whilst he and I sit in humble shade
And drink of coffee while they sweating sort
The useful from the dross in that heavy load
And feed the hungry maw of hammer mill
With maize from foreign, far off land.
He gazes at the work and load
“No, no it’s not as good as ours” he says

24/04/1998

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Heat Haze

Beneath a sky cast sapphire blue
By a stand of lonely blue gum trees
Some cattle gather shaded from incessant heat
Still they stand, panting statues
Except for ears flicking flies away
Across the red dust dry veld
A dust devil whirls tall
Past shimmering, stuttering skull white houses
Hurling papers and bits
In an impotent rage against the hot hard ground
From the distance the sound of a tractor ploughing
Deep furrows in a deeper landscape
For mealies
Or sorghum
I sit out on the stoep this African afternoon
And view, through pipe smoke haze
The distant koppies and blood red ground
Of a Western Transvaal
Held in heats oppressive grip
I drink my fill
Of homemade pineapple beer
Chilled in a glass filled with ice
And gaze serenely on this placid place
Unable to move or think or talk
Wet with sweat my clothes cling
To a glistened body tanned brown
By sun and wind and work
But not today

22/04/1998

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