29 07 2007

Southern Africa burns every dry season, which means the fires are starting in earnest about now. I should think the visibility is down to about 5km, the smoke is that bad. For a particularly good satellite photo check out http://eobadmin.gsfc.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/natural_hazards_v2.php3?img_id=5145

Some years ago when the farm invasions were running at their peak I was coming back from a day’s paragliding on the Great Dyke. It was night time and a fire was raging by the side of the road. I watched it and saw the obvious metaphor for what was happening to the country at the time and by the time I got home decided I would have to put it into poetry. I’m not a great poet but I have finally done it in about 30 minutes total! Here it is, I make no apologies except that it took so long in gestation. It is angry poetry – I was angry then and I guess I still am. (I am open to suggestions for improvements from those more literally talented than I!)

I watched my country burn last night,
The flames were ecstatic, greedy and bright.
I watched the trees twist and I cried,
They could not run,
They just smouldered, died.

I watched my country burn today,
The flames were hot but seemed far away.
Smoke towered and billowed, drifted black.
The sun grew scared,
The birds turned their backs.

I will watch my country burn tomorrow,
I will see the pain, the hope and sorrow.
The sky will dim, the people afraid.
But who will listen –
Who will answer the pain?

How long will it burn, this fire, this cancer?
Can it burn forever, forever disaster?
Can we put out the flame – divert our fate?
Can someone help us –
Quell the horror and dull the hate?



5 responses

30 07 2007
Jane & Frazer

Don’t change anything, we think it’s excellent.

30 07 2007
Big Blister


2 08 2007
Kimberly Tolmay

I think you’re an awesome poet.

2 08 2007

Thanks, I am flattered but not about to change my day job, well not for poetry writing at least!

14 01 2008

Make peace, not war!

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