search instagram arrow-down

Poems from the Cederberg

Dear Friends and followers of my blog,

Re: Poems from the Cederberg

Every years in November I am invited to the Cederberg mountains in the Cape by the Diocesan College Epic programme. My particular task is to take  groups  of grade 10s, about 15 in a group, on a trail through the Bushmen caves near a place called Elisabeth Fontein. It is called the Sevilla Trail and there are 10 rock art sights. I have written about the trail in a previous blog:

This year I was moved to write a few poems which I share with you.

A tortoise came walking

I sat in the cool of the morning

reading my book

and a tortoise came walking past

Along a line of a Cederberg bush

over-seared by the sun

but keeping their dignity

The creature took no notice of me

as it made its way prodding its head

working its legs in the dust of the day

pausing to examine minutae 

or munch some seed for sweetness

Then, between the pause of my page

in a moment of gazing

it was gone into the dry bush

with a jaunty stride on its meander.

Images thanks to pexels-ankit-patel-14665073 Below pexels-kristian-thomas-13016795

The Snake

It was sudden

on our path

from a shady rock

to our right

the speed of sight

in the seconds of a wink

I and the boy pulling back

to the flash of the cobra

“A black spitting cobra”,

from the mouth of the boy

It seemed to rise up

to float on the air

a spiralling coil

in fearful waves.

We drew back.

The other boys came.

The snake recoiled,

was gone

into the shadow’s blackness

They missed everything.

Our story forever,

a spitting black cobra

moments of fear,


A moment of sudden beauty

In its shiny blackness

And lightness of being.


The wind thrumming and

wheezing through the trees

Rattling the seed pods while the sun

bursts and pops them open

Gravity pulls them downwards

but the wind plays with them

pushes them, pulls at them and tumbles them

to the ground to cover them with

dust and dirt

All the little bushes are moving now

playing their own dry green tunes

In a chorus of wind rhapsodies

Then she comes again forcibly


Sing louder you choirs of blue-gums

Open your mouths in round voweled sounds

Let me hear your voices of jubilation

and the murmurs of mourning your loves

on this wild day of my presence

shaking you into this new time

And new days of watchfulness

Fishing with the young boys

I went fishing with the boys today

I went fishing for the first time in my life

We had prepared the rods well before

and set the cute toy-fish to the tip of the rod,

a fish that would delight an infant

with its mellow springiness

One boy struggled with his rod,

so I gave him mine and watched them fish

on a landing that stretched into the lake

They were naturals in their casting

the exhileration of the cast and splash

of being the hunter in this game.

The shout of the bites

the drawing in of the lines

this time a multi-fin yellow Bass,

swinging in towards us,

then the struggle to remove the embedded hook

It seemed like ages,

the water lapping the wharf,


the fish struggling the fingers.

The boy and fish photographed,

the fish returned to the sea

I hoped alive

and wiser in chasing after such

neat-needled little toys

Fishing is not for me.

Image thanks to pexels-the-lazy-artist-gallery-1569002

3 comments on “Poems from the Cederberg

  1. How delightful! Many thanks for those vivid poems, Bob.


  2. petercharlesfox says:

    Your creative juices are fully engaged Bob–fantastic Thank you


  3. penberthymariegmailcom says:

    I loved your Cederberg poems Bob.


Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: