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A Verse or Two

The Poetry of members and friends


There are many amateur poets among the hiking community and it is a privilege to offer a forum for the publication of the works of some of these poets. If you would like a poem published on this page, please send it to me tim@footprint.co.za . There is no fee for publication and while copyright exists throughout this site, there is no guarantee that people will not steal your work. I hope that you, the reader, enjoy the poems and maybe it will inspire you to write "A Verse or Two"

 

It's Three in the Morning

This is a poem that I wrote at the Gorge Wellington hiking trail. There was a full moon and I slept outside but awoke just before three and started writing.

At three in the morning one's thoughts run deep. The silence around me put me in a rather melancholy mood.

 

Its three in the morning,
I cannot sleep,
Around me, the sound of the bush sing
Melodies that could make one weep.
The moon is guiding my writing path,
As I gaze into the glowing fire hearth.
The embers of a once great flaming fire,
Send me warmth as if by dying desire.
The sounds of the bush will never fade away,
But the embers of the fire have had their day,
It is the story of life itself,
A story of new beginnings and of final death,
As man must live and then expire,
But the sounds around me will always rekindle in fire.
As the moon follows sun or sun follows moon,
So it is the order of life’s domain.
I think of the baby that’s still to be born,
A new day in life’s eternal plan,
I think of the old lady who will see no tomorrow,
A look in her eyes of resignation and sorrow.
I think of a river that flows from the heavens to the sea,
An eternal process that one cannot flee.

by Tim Hartwright

 

HIGHVELD WINTER RAIN

 HOW SOFT AND SWEET THE FALLING RAIN.    

DAMP EARTH BRINGS MORNING JOY AGAIN

WRINKLED NOSE OF FURRY FORM

SNIFFS OUT THE TREASURES NIGHT HAS BORN

 

EARTH’S WONDROUS PERFUME FRESHLY DONNED

REMAINS A WHILE, AS PUDDLE AND POND

TEASE WILDLIFE FROM THEIR WINTER SLUMBER

TO DREAM AGAIN OF SUMMER’S WONDER

 

DUST IS QUENCHED THROUGH BRIEF RESPITE

AS GENTLE RAINS THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT

PUT BACK WHAT GREEDY SUN RAYS STEAL   

TO YELLOWED GRASS, AND TRIES TO HEAL.

 

WHAT ECSTACY THE MOISTURE BRINGS

WHEN WAKENING THE ROBIN SINGS,

AND PARCHED EARTH TENTATIVELY DRAWS

THE PRECIOUS NECTAR THROUGH HER PORES

 

THEN, TASTING NATURE’S SWEET RELIEF

RECALLING SUMMER’S GREENING LEAF

SHE DRAWS AND GREEDILY SHE PLUNDERS

THE VAPOROUS BALM - UNTIL ONE WONDERS

 

HOW SUCH A VERY BRIEF OCCASION

COMPENSATES FOR MANS’ INVASION

- SWEPT BARE EARTH DEVOID OF COVER

‘TO KEEP IT TIDY’ - NO LEAVES OR CLOVER

 

ALLOWED TO LINGER FOR FEAR OF ‘PESTS’

WHICH LURK BENEATH EARTH’S WINTER VEST.

WHILST EARTH WORM CASTS ARE HEAVEN SENT

AERATING GROUND TILL NEXT EVENT

 

OF NURTURING ALL REFRESHING RAIN

TO NOURISH OUR DRY EARTH AGAIN.

By Pat Nierop

 

 

HIGHVELD WINTER SUNSET

 

PALE BLUE AND GOLD WITH HINT OF RED

THE GLOWING GRASSVELD FADES TO BED

AS THATCHING GRASSES TALL AND PROUD

WAIT FOR NIGHT TO CAST HER SHROUD.

 

LINGERING DUST’S REFLECTED GLOW,

AS ORB DESCENDING SEEMS TO GROW,

SPREADS APRICOTS AND PINKS UNTIL

IT GATHERS UP THE EVENING CHILL.

 

THE SCENTED AIR WITH DUSK DESCENDING

BRINGS ON SHADOWS - NIGHT IS PENDING,

AS SLEEPY SUNRAYS REACH TO SKIES,

WHERE HORISONS MEET AND HEAVEN SIGHS,

 

THEN SEARCH THE EARTH WITH STRETCHING ARMS

AS HUNGRY JACKAL AND DOGS FROM FARMS

CALL OUT TO KINSFOLK FAR AND NEAR

THEIR PLAINTIVE MUSIC A THRILL TO HEAR.

 

THEY MISS THEIR MARK AS DAY SUBSIDES

AND RUSTLING RODENT IN PATHWAY HIDES

FROM EARLY OWLS ALL SEEING EYES

AND EARS THAT MISS NAUGHT, OTHERWISE

 

HER HUNGER LASTS THE CHILLY NIGHT

AND FAMISHED DAYBREAK DAWNS WITH BRIGHT 

COLD FROSTY AIR AS MIST ASCENDS

ALONG A RIVER’S SCENIC BENDS.

 

A FRECKLED NIGHTJAR’S THROATY TRILL

IS HEARD FROM FAR ACROSS THE STILL

SWEET EVENING, AS HIS HUNGER WILL

AWAKE HIS EMPTY CROP TO FILL

 

WITH TARDY INSECTS CAUGHT IN FLIGHT.

NOW’S TIME FOR BAT HAWK’S BUSY NIGHT

OF AGILE SWERVES ACROSS THE BRIGHT

GLOW FROM TRACKS REFLECTED LIGHT.

 

THE SUN’S LONG GONE TO OTHER REGIONS

AS HIGHVELD DARK BRINGS NIGHTLY LEGIONS

OF GENETS, EAGLE OWLS AND RATS

TO TANTALISE DOMESTIC CATS

 

THE MUNCHY MEALTIME BRINGS CONTENT

WHILST CONTEMPLATING DAY WELL SPENT

SUBSIDES TO SLEEPINESS AND CALM

AWARE OF WARMTH AND FREE FROM HARM

 

by  Pat van Nierop

 

BERMANZI
SITTING HIGH ON THE SHOULDER OF THE KLOOF
NESTLES THE HIKERS' LODGE, SOLID AND INVITING
LOOKING TO THE DISTANT HILLS MISTY AND ALOOF
THEN DOWN INTO THE VALLEY GREEN AND EXCITING
THE RIVER IS CHUCKLING DOWN BELOW
BECKONING ADVENTURE AT EVERY TURN
AND AT OTHER TIMES HURRYING ON TO GURGLE AND CHURN
UP THE SLOPES PAST FLORA MANY AND VARIOUS
ALONG NARROW PATHS LOOKING QUITE PRECARIOUS
SUNBIRDS HOVER AT FLOWERS' LONG THROATS
ALONG THE SLOPES BROWSE COWS, SHEEP AND GOATS
HOW WELCOME IS THE SHADE OF A WILD PEAR TREE
AS WE SETTLE TO REST AND ENJOY WHAT WE CAN SEE
WE GLIMPSE THE WATERFALL CASCADING OVER THE EDGE
AND HURRY TO REACH IT, THEN LIE AROUND AND VEG!
THE WATER IS ICY IN THE SHIMMERING POOL
BUT AFTER THE HEAT, WE RELISH THE COOL
CLIMBING ONTO BOULDERS TO BASK IN THE SUN
YOU CITY SLICKERS ARE MISSING SUCH FUN
THE SIMPLE PLEASURE AND JOYS OF THIS FARM
RESTORES IN THE SPIRIT A SENSE OF CALM.


by Verna Deakin

 

Bermanzi

Bermanzi is a hiking trail in the Machadodorp area of Mpumalanga. It has a beautiful waterfall and is one of the most beautiful hikes in the province.

 

Mapumaleng

(place of much rain)

This is a poem that I wrote when thinking of this very beautiful rain forest area close to Hazey View in Mpumalanga. Sometimes, during winter, the forest floor starts to dry out and the leaves begin to shrivel.

 

Mapumaleng
Through forest, savanah and along river bank I walk,
With just the birds and Cicarda beetles to talk
A little gurgling brook needs to be crossed,
What does the water taste like, I asked?
So I crouched down and cup my hand for it to try,
The ice cold sparkles of droplets like a child’s cry.
The taste is so soothing to the lips,
As the water enters my mouth in sips.
I look upwards through the branches of the trees to the sky,
And wonder what cloud will bring more rain to this mountain so dry.
And then I once more embark upon my journey,
Following some road wherever it will take me,
Away from the gurgling brook, so free,
Back to the stress of the city, I must flee,
Until again I may walk by a crystal stream with glee,
In a mountainous land I can once again tarry.

by Tim Hartwright
 

Outeniqua 2002

As  totally strangers we meet................

We spend time together.. talking, walking,

some .....with sore feet ..........

We became friends and always will be........

This hike brought us all closer together you see ......

Sharing yesterday's memories and tomorrow's dreams........

as close as a flower's petals, dipping in cool streams.........

Relax and having fun... after a long days hiking in the sun....

Laughing about solar bears.......sharing food with friends who cares ........

Mushrooms - yellow, pink, orange and red too!........

I believe in magic------------- do you?............

Hypnotized by the fire's dancing flames.........

listening to the sounds of the night and playing games........

Sharing the beauty of the Outeniqua with butterflies and birds..............

.enjoying their happy song of tweety-tweety words...........

by Yvonne vos

 

The Outeniqua   Trail

This Poem was written by Yvonne after she has just completed this magnificent trail in the Eastern Cape close to Knysna and George. The area has some of the most beautiful indigenous forests to be found in Southern Africa

 

Captives of the Canyon
By Don Young

This poem seems to be the tale of the Fish River Canyon for most people who enter this inhospitable world. Strangely, this trail attracts more return visits than any other of the long distance trails of southern Africa
 

CAPTIVES OF THE CANYON.

 

After a long dry trip,

We arrived at the lip,
Of the second biggest canyon in the world,

Past the chains and the slippery bits,

Over the boulders and over the falls,

Down we went,

Forty five minutes we were told,

But it felt a lot longer to our toes,

We were now Captives of the Canyon.

 

Over the sand and the hard hard rocks,

Till it was decided,

This is the place for the overnight stop,

The ritual began, the bags unrolled,

The food was begun,

The first star was seen,

The fire was lit,

The stories were told,

The songs they were sung,

Then it was left with the moon on watch,

And as we lay in our beds,

We watched the shadows change,

On the rock face above.

 

After coffee and rusks, We were ready to roll,

Over soft soft sand and 

Those horrible round rocks,

On to the Springs,

Where are the Springs?

Around the next corner we were told,

Us the Captives of the Canyon.

 

I hate this Canyon,

A cry often heard,

It seems to me so strange,

That the soft sand at our feet,

When we lay in our beds,

Turned into instant concrete,

Some camp sites so tidy and neat,

Others had stones placed all around,

Buts others like the MIlkmans,

Looked like a battleground.

 

We walked with the baboons,

And the dainty grey buck,

We saw tracks of the Big Cat,

And many many more,

We drank from the pools,

Some icy some clear,

We walked over short cuts,

Like the back of the moon,

Past the lonely soldiers grave,

Where he watches forever,

Over four finger rock,

Us the Captives of the Canyon.

 

The fourth day dawned ,

A little cold and  grey,

So everyone decided,

We were Ai-Ais away,

Over the short cut,

By way of the stock kraal,

The steep black rock,

With the grey heron on watch,

                    but,

The Canyons not over,

Till the Fat Man arrives,

With his ice cold bottle of cheer,

And the warm springs of Ai-Ais,

Releases us the Captives of the Canyon.






 

 

Along a distant mountain track I wander,
Up and up the mountain slope I go
The path ahead appears more rugged and slender
as the wind force continues to grow
Will it rain I begin to ponder
Will the dark clouds unleash there wrath
Do I continue the path course to follow
Or head for the valley far bellow
Peering out across the distant green meadows
Across the farmland far below
I see the approaching clouds of rains gather
like the turmoil of a boiling kettle
Of a sudden the path turns a brow of headland
the way forward the decent now seems even steeper
and heads towards a dark and foreboding woodland
with its promised of instant shelter
as all around becomes dark and bleak
and the lowering of the temperature
as the first bolts of lightning streak
and with the lightening comes the rainstorm
driving hard at my face.
I reach the shelter of the murky forest
and find a perch by a mountain stream
A lonely cow shows its interest
and comes to look as if in a dream
The placid stream begins to gurgle
and rise towards were I have my seat.
The torrents of water cascade downwards
The whiteness like a glowing lamp
I huddle closer with my backpack
and await the calming at storm end
pondering on natures angers
and the frailty of mankind


by Tim Hartwright
 

Eikenhof

This is a poem that I wrote one morning a work. I felt rather melancholy at the time of writing and my thoughts dwelt on the Eikenhof Trail in Natal.

 

The Bushpig

An animal related the the European Wild Boar. They frequent the forests and feed on roots. They are much bigger and more dangerous than their relative, the Warthog. I came across three of these while walking in the forest at Mapulaneng.

 

In a forest deep, I sit and stare
A Bushpig looks up as if to scare
Did he hear the rustle of our feet
or was it just the rustle of some leaf
He decides to flee our presence just in case
Leaving us to ponder whether to chase
But just then he is gone and out of sight
Leaving a dark image of his might
 by Tim Hartwright
 
Feeling- Poems by Peter van der Schyff

FEAR

 Oh cold and dark damp!

How my mediocre boundaries have shrunk

and shrink still

gagging my senses,

leaving me breathless,

numb,

And finally shattering me

            to splintered glass

                        without reflection ……

 

ANGER

 Have these dark clouds come

to haunt me?

Harass me?

Or perhaps to harness me:

to absorb and fuel

my inner fury

and feed it with violent storms

and lightning

………flashing ……

yet never lighting my turmoiled landscape

 

SORROW

 How could I ever fathom

how deep this well might be?

What profound emptiness

and despair

fills the void within me?

Like cold winter winds

fill vacant city lots,

deserted parks,

abandoned playgrounds,

leafless trees

on empty streets.

 

The rain has left my dry eyes wet

            yet dry.

 

 
JOY

 Abundant life and laughter

fill the cups

of summer nights

until they overflow and spill

colourfully into pavements

and streets

and homes.

 Lovers

playfully giggle and touch and dance and kiss.

Children

merrily run and wave and sing and laugh out loud.

Musicians

            play and sing and strum and tap their feet.

 

And I smile contently

and I love

            happily …

 

Innocence

 Don’t cut my lifeline

 ever!

 But let me flow,

             metaphysically suspended,

 inside this cocoon

 of unblemished hope

 where I will forever be

 umbilically

 yours …….

 

 

The Road goes on

by Robin Woodward

The road goes on…

 

I desert the twinkling lights of Johannesburg for glowing fields of sunflowers

Majestic, silver barked trees linger by the roadside.

Power lines straddle the road like characters from War of the Worlds

And the road goes on

 

Wind mills spin in the breeze, each vane saluting a bygone era

When energy was free and its acquisition hurt nothing

Voortrekker St, Kurgar Road, many names remain but too many are being changed

And still the road goes on

 

Cigarettes, a flask of coffee and my Jukebox keep me awake

The telegraph road takes me to Cape Town but never forget that it’s not the destination but the journey that is important.  Like Life, the journey is now, don’t waste it, live it!

Oh yes, and the road goes on and on

 

Barbers poles dot the hillside ensuring I’m always available,

Cactus covered hills pop up like flowers in spring,

Brown signs and Dams tempt but I resist and

The road relentlessly goes on

 

What I love the most is the road etiquette

They pull over to the left; I flash my hazard warning lights, they flash headlights

A never ending spiral of courtesy

This road really does go on and on

 

Vast plains now, filled with Tequila cactus, Oh YES

Then the terrain begins to undulate and finally turns into Monument Valley

But it just goes on and on!

As does the road

 

A Solitary dust devil tries to impersonate a tornado but with little success,

I find a train to race but its carrying giant, one ton steel polo mints

So not really a fair competition

This road definitely goes on

 

The road rises and falls

Like the story of my life encapsulated in a small stretch of tarmac

For life is a just a rollercoaster so ensure you enjoy the ride

The one constant is that the road goes on

 

The mountains crowd in now as if to mock my progress

It doesn’t matter how fast I go or

How long I take

It just goes on and then I arrive

 

Some people say the first time is always the best

I don’t subscribe to that point of view,

I will be driving again

The road that goes on and on

 

 


Footprint Hiking Club

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