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)

“Little Evening Lily” is complete!

Aandpypie (Gladiolus liliaceus), 19 October 2018. Copyright 2018 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
The wildflower, Gladiolus liliaceus. Taken 19 October 2018.

“To a Wild Flower”, previously “Little Evening Lily”, is complete! What began as a single sketch—an ode to my beloved Gladiolus liliaceus in all its incarnations—has blossomed into three separate poems: I. “Lovely Wayside Lily”, II. “There Is No Other Lily . . .” and III. “Wondrous Afrikaner”.

As expected, it took four months to develop the three variations, each dwelling in short and simple lines upon those aspects of the flower that charm me most. I am content that I have poured into the stanzas my naïve appreciation of the flower’s beauty and eagerly await September that I may recite to it my laudations.

Next, I shall develop “The Wind!”, a sketch outlined in November 2018, one of several compositions on the titular theme. Wild flowers, birds, beasts, hills, fields and the wind: these move me to verse! For the moments when they leave me speechless, I write poems bursting with praise.

Poetry Publication Progress (2021-03-13)