A delightful fact I neglect to mention is that my beloved Gladiolus liliaceus, commonly known as the Large Brown Afrikaner and Aandpypie1 (“little evening pipe”2), has yet another common Afrikaans name: the Ribbokblom3, that is, the “rhebok flower”!
Whence the name, I can only speculate—perhaps because the rhebok itself is as rare, or that both are found on hillsides and are brownish-grey? Nonetheless, what are the odds that two of my favourite things—an antelope and a lily—should be thus connected!
After the flower that opens at night.
[Ribbok-blom] with a trilled “R” and a short [awh] version of the “o” in “or”.
Imagine my utter astonishment when late yesterday evening, I should see ten of the rare Grey Rhebok on a hillside! At first, I spied only two—a male and a female—near the lower part of the slope, but when the female darted uphill, lo—a herd!
Amazed, I started taking pictures without checking any camera settings lest I miss the opportunity to document the moment; the images you see here are the meagre results.
The male I presume the sire. Rhebok herds are comprised of one adult male and a group of about fifteen females and progeny. This is my second sighting of this shy species—and the greatest number yet, having seen only one male before.
In an unusual development, “Feather in the Wind” is complete! A little history: I was approached by a record label in December 2017 about creating a release for their catalogue. I was, in theory, a good fit given the nature of my work, a blend of music and poetry, something the label itself explored through experimental music inspired by English haikus.
The proposal was interesting to me because I had never attempted a haiku1 before, and so I enthusiastically composed a sketch which I would then set to music. “Feather in the Wind” was the result, an English haiku describing the descent of a swallow feather through the air.
For whatever reason, I heard nothing further from the label, and thus decided to add the sketch to my poetry collection with a second verse composed in the same style2. As I revised the draft yesterday, I found it in a highly finished state with nothing to add or alter. This was surprising; so used am I to agonising over a poem, I needed a day to take it in!
I continue then (with a sense of disbelief) to “A Rhebok!”3, inspired by a brief but memorable encounter with Pelea capreolus, a rarely seen antelope indigenous to this region. Amusingly, the sighting occurred in December 20174, the very month the label approached me.
A poem with three lines: five syllables in line one, seven in line two and five in line three.
Thereby corrupting the concept of the haiku proper, which traditionally has one verse. I have since split the poem into two haikus: “Feather”, consisting of verse one, and “Wind”, consisting of verse two. I have also updated the “Poetry Publication Progress” list (which constitutes a draft of the collection’s table of contents—or “litany”, as I like to think of it) to reflect this change.