From “Kalossie” to “Toktokkie”

Ixia stricta, 3 December 2018. Copyright 2018 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
The exquisite Kalossie (Ixia stricta). Photographed 3 December 2018.


Amazingly—given my recent trend of lengthy writing times—“Kalossie”, the third of the “Wild Flower Sketches”, was completed in just four short writing sessions, including the conception of the original draft.

This was the result of having decided upon the tercet as its form, after “Karkar Flowers” and “Lobelia”, its completed companion compositions. All that was left was to shape the lines accordingly.

The “Wild Flower Sketches” then are a triptych of tercets celebrating Tritoniopsis antholyza, Lobelia chamaepitys and Ixia stricta. What a joy to have words prepared the next time I meet them on the mountain!

Toktokkie, 3 December 2018. Copyright 2018 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
The beetle that inspired a poem. Photographed 3 December 2018.


Next, I shall develop the “Toktokkie”1 poem, inspired by the beetle of that name. I composed the first draft—“Tock-tocky”—nearly a month after encountering it on the mountain that blessed summer evening.

I recognised it from childhood and remembered that knocking with one’s knuckle on the ground would persuade it to do the same with its rear!2 The poem enjoys this amusement in two stanzas.

The tapping is the origin of its common name, the onomatopoeic “Toktokkie”, Afrikaans for “little knock-knock”. I anglicised this to “Tock-tocky”, but no such contrivance is necessary—“Toktokkie” is its title.

  1. Afrikaans; pronounced [tockTOCKy], with a clipped version of the [o] in ‘or’.
  2. Tricked into thinking a potential mate is nearby.

Poetry Publication Progress (2021-11-20)

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