On Poetry and Autumn

Puddles at Dawn, 19 May 2021. Copyright 2021 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Another autumn morning dawns in the Overberg. Little frogs click beside the pools and jump into the water as you tread the soggy shores. (Taken 19 May 2021, Apple iPhone 11 Pro)

The South African autumn affords those who venture out upon the hills before sunrise the most ethereal views of the Overberg. Wet with the rains of May, puddles punctuate the paths, lanes and dirt roads—mirrors crudely shaped but polished to perfection, faithfully reflecting the sky.

Surrounded by such beauty, I work diligently at my anthology. Though presently developing “Rietpypie”, I occasionally revisit poems already completed, testing those new ideas that come with re-examination, and thus, “A Batis” returns to the writing desk as I try to improve upon it.

Poetry Publication Progress (2021-05-30)

The Evolution of “The Wind!”

Flock on a Distant Hill
A flock of sheep on a hill in the spring of 2017. Such a scene appears in the recently completed poems.

The Wind Trio

Sometimes, a poem takes on a very different form, once the writing process begins, and the first draft is but a germ. What started as a playful two-stanza composition about the moods of the wind, has through many variations become a meditation on its gentler moments, manifesting itself in three separate poems (a trend of late) bearing no resemblance to the original sketch.1

  1. The original first stanza—incidentally, inspired by a note made whilst working on “Most Sublime” (of which I wrote in “This November”, paragraph 10): “Stroking, playing, flowing, rolling, / Rippling in the grass! // Lapping, skipping, dancing, strolling, / Never where it was!”. The transformation was the result of an image evoked by “To a Wild Flower I”, creating a style more contemplative than gambolling.

They are, in order of likelihood of inclusion in the anthology: “The Wind at the Wayside”, a delicate reverie on the lightest zephyrs of spring; “On the Wind”, a variation on that subject, drawing on the same imagery; and “Ataraxia”—a word derived from Ancient Greek that refers to a state of serene calmness—a distillation of the aforementioned poems in a single four-line stanza.

Tritoniopsis antholyza, 3 December 2018. Copyright 2018 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Tritoniopsis antholyza, commonly known as the Rietpypie2 or Bergpypie3, photographed at eventide in December 2018, the beginning of the South African summer.

The Wild Flower Trio

Next is the “Wild Flower Trio”, three poems inspired by floral finds on a heathery mountain slope in the spring of 2018. Four sketches resulted from that indelible excursion of which I wrote in “This December”. It has been two years since then, but the textures, perfumes, sights and sounds are vivid within me as I slowly move my thoughts to “Rietpypie”2, the first of the set.

  1. “Rietpypie” is Afrikaans for “little reed pipe” (pronounced “Rietpaypy” with a trilled [R]).
  2. “Bergpypie” is Afrikaans for “little mountain pipe” (pronounced “behRCHpaypy” with a trilled [R], the guttural [CH] sound in “loch”(not the [ck] in “lock”) and the [i] in “did”).

Poetry Publication Progress (2021-04-27)

A Field Afire

Stubble Fire, 23 April 2021. Copyright 2021 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
A stubble fire in autumn.

Autumn has come to South Africa and all across the countryside, the hills are being readied for wheat, barley and canola. Yesterday, I watched as a field was scorched of the stubble which since November has bristled upon it, the white smoke and black earth a sure sign that the green of winter approaches.

Stubble Fire, 23 April 2021. Copyright 2021 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
A labourer keeping a watchful eye on the smouldering straw. At the wayside, I could feel the heat. “Hot work,” I observed. “Hot work!” he laughed.
Stubble Fire, 23 April 2021. Copyright 2021 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
His smoky keep.