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Farmyard Haiku

I recently spent a week in the Cederberg mountains near Clanwilliam. For the last three years I have gone there as part of the Bishop’s College Epic, to lead groups of grade 10s who are on a hiking adventure course, through the Bushman Rock Art Trail. I refer to the Rock Art in my next blog.

While there, I noticed that on many farms, perhaps it is all farms that the implements, tools and vehicles are never removed. They are simply left close to where they were once useful. So I share with you a few pictures and some haiku to delight and amuse you.

A haiku is a Japanese poem which has three lines. The first line has five syllables, the next line seven and the third line five. They present a picture and take you on a journey. In my case I am putting a haiku alongside a picture.

A silent mirror
And the universe lengthen
in a gentle smile

Graveyard of boxes
rotting in the veld’s sunlight
made, used, suspended!

Toilet for insects
sliding to your centre
Ah! Fragrant Karoo

Bottles for Doomsday
Where do your spirits wander?
Did they dance and die?

You the farm circus
Who rattled-roared in corn aura
If you had made bread?

Dogs barked, children jived
How you carried loads.
Old horse browning with sun

The Englishman’s Grave
Harrow under Southern Cross
A tree your soul friend

Eagle owl watches
from den of tangled sticks
What will darkness bring?

The Englishman’s Grave is beside the road, very close to the top of the Pakhuis Pass in the Cederberg. From the pass there is a wonderful view of the Karoo rising up about a 1000 ft to the escarpment on which the rest of South Africa is built. On the other side are the Cape Fold Mountains which have their source from when the continents clashed millions of years ago.
The Englishman buried here was Lieutenant Graham Vinicombe Winchester Clowes of the Ist Battalian Gordon Highlanders. His unit tried to stop the Boers from infiltrating the Cape Colony. He was killed in action on 30 January 1901.

His mother came out to visit his grave every year for the rest of her life until 1936. I’m sure that it was never a pleasant boat journey.

He was educated at Harrow, the famous school in North West London.

As we gathered there I read them the poem by Thomas Hardy called Drummer Hodge which comes from the same era and speaks to this story and the story of many others, who came from English villages and died in a foreign land, as a result of the Boer War.

Drummer Hodge

They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest
Uncoffined — just as found:
His landmark is a kopje-crest
That breaks the veldt around:
And foreign constellations west
Each night above his mound.

Young Hodge the drummer never knew —
Fresh from his Wessex home —
The meaning of the broad Karoo,
The Bush, the dusty loam,
And why uprose to nightly view
Strange stars amid the gloam.

Yet portion of that unknown plain
Will Hodge for ever be;
His homely Northern breast and brain
Grow up a Southern tree,
And strange-eyed constellations reign
His stars eternally.

Thomas Hardy 1899

I invite people to make a small donation to the welfare of my blog, twice a year. If you enjoy it and find it stimulating and helpful please give it some consideration. It assists me in this world of online contribution which requires a cost. I am also quite happy that people share and use my content on their own spiritual journey. I thank those who have made donations at the start of the year.

My account details are as follows: R W Commin, Standard Bank, Rondebosch, Current A/C 071438475, code 02-50-09

S.W.I.F.T. Address SBZA ZA JJ

Peace and Joy

5 comments on “Farmyard Haiku

  1. Ayahelush Getahun says:

    Only when I meet you in person I will donate not on line sorry

    Like

  2. Ayahelush Getahun says:

    Is the poetry group of 10 Dec. 7: 30 p.m. canceled?

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  3. pennysilva45 says:

    Love the haikus, Bob! Thank you.

    Love Penny

    Like

  4. Ayahelush Getahun says:

    LOVE HAIKU!!!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  5. Your photo of the eagle owl is marvellous! And my favourite haiku is this gem:
    Bottles for Doomsday
    Where do your spirits wander?
    Did they dance and die?

    Thank you!

    Like

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