A Reflection on Yesterday’s Outburst

Blue Cranes and Merino Sheep. Loop filmed on 8 February 2019 at the height of the South African summer (December to February).1

My poems are, in essence, refined emotional responses to agrarian life. (Though not a farmer, I grew up surrounded by farms in the Overberg—an agricultural region in the Western Cape Province of South Africa—to which I feel a profound, near spiritual connection.)

They invariably begin as rough vers libre reflections, poetic sketches which I gradually shape into traditional lyric stanzas; an outburst like “An Exaltation” could easily be an example of how my poems begin—indeed, its title was taken from an abandoned sketch.

My verses are idylls, pastorals in the Romantic style, recreations of simple encounters in the countryside: a rarely-seen creature suddenly before you (“A Rhebok!”), a blanket of fog on the cliffs (“Mist on the Mountain”), a flitting passerine on the wing (“To a Swallow”).

The sketch I am developing now—“Cranes and Sheep”—is a joyful recollection of a familiar sight here one glorious December afternoon in 2017 (summer in South Africa) when the Blue Cranes were truly the hue of the sky and the Merino Sheep that of the field!

  1. The quality is low as they were at a distance; I had to use maximum zoom on the iPhone.

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