I have discarded the offshoot poem of “A Choir of Pine”. I am confident that in the parent poem, I have expressed the theme to my satisfaction; the different style of the offshoot seems to me insufficient justification for its existence, rendering it redundant.
I shall now proceed to the next sketch, “That Is All”: a celebration of the sights and sounds of my rural surroundings, much like “Over the Mountain” before it.
Its form and working title were inspired by “Dis Al”1, a sombre poem by Jan F. E. Celliers who in brief, swaying metre expresses the sorrow of an exiled soldier returned. It is an unexpected beginning for my cheerful theme, but who dictates to the muse?
Pronounced [diss ull], Afrikaans for “that’s all”.
I have just completed “A Blustery Day”—now titled “A Choir of Pine”—four sweeping three-line stanzas revelling in the rush of the wind! I shall now develop its offshoot poem—its working title, “A Choir of Pine II”—which expresses the same but in a different style.
South Africa is in the midst of spring, and there is no end to the flowers.1 Every few weeks, there are new arrangements of shape, size and colour at the waysides that come and go in turn.
Some sparkle on shrubs that in every other season give nothing away of their splendour. Some burst from bulbs straight from the ground—just stem, no leaves at all. Some flutter gently amid the grasses—shy, though they need not be so.
Some dazzle with striking colour, insisting one stops and stares. Some are strange, barely recognisable as what they are—for that reason, all the more lovely. Some are so small that on hands and knees one must descend to see them at all.
Were I to catalogue every species I have seen this season, my updates would be frequent and long, but permit me one more occasion to show some of the specimens that now are in bloom:
Or wild animals: late Thursday afternoon, I saw for the first time a pair of Otocyon megalotis, Bat-eared foxes! I regret I was not able to photograph them.