Over the last week or so I’ve dug out some watercolours with poems about Namibia written back in the 70s and written them into the red bound moleskin that will be the journal for this trip.
Today, listened to an old ‘Excess Baggage’ programme from the bbc and the subject was travel poetry.
Here is Robert Frost’s poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ the final two sentances those often quoted.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh. I kept that for another day!
Yet knowing how ways lead on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I..
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
So here is one of the poems I wrote on the last bush trip we had up into the Kalahari…and one which won’t be re-travelled. Remember these words were written 30+years ago as the sun set on a damp evening, sitting by a campfire close, but not too close! to a waterhole frequented by game with a Dan Hill song playing on a very dodgy cassette player.
A campfire glows
Yellow and gold
A focus of warmth and light.
Are grey and white, pregnant with rain
To spiky horizons of thorn trees
Beyond rusted corn coloured grass.
Seek life from this land,
Buried water beneath red sand
And scanty game
hidden in concealed corners
Hunted with bow and arrow
In strapped leather sacks:
Like wizened children
So wise in the ways of pure existance,
With a handful of tobacco
In their surroundings,
Horizon boundaries to their world
And the everchanging sounds of the bush.
Are the roots of man
Unchanged through millenia
Provided by water
Dark and light.
Night is now full
And the red eye of the fire
In our part of of Hereroland.