I captured this impromptu photograph whilst out among the hills, late yesterday afternoon, and shared it with a friend. “It complements your art,” he said. The inverse, however, is true: my art seeks to complement it—indeed, the Overberg1 inspires the Theme (Wonder), Subject (Natural Beauty) and Style (Simple Lyric Poetry) of my work. Here, every resource must be husbanded, and the minimalism of the landscape is the result of drudgery. Both shape my attitude to words when I extol this region in verse.
A rural region of the Western Cape province of South Africa.
It is spring in South Africa (September to November), and the Greater Striped Swallows (Cecropis cucullata) are returned from north Africa for the breeding season. A week ago, I photographed one of their many mud-pellet nests in the entrails of a bridge where I often stop to admire them as they frolic in the air.
When I survey pastoral scenes such as these, I wish that I could outstretch my arms and embrace them! In my desperation, I do so with words—fumbling lines that do none of it justice. If I could write poetry so sweet, verses so simple—silences so sustaining!