Marina’s recent message to OM poets got me going on this poem - the inspiration for the poem (below) came from some scribbled notes I had written some time back about a camping trip in the Magkarikari Pans in North West Botswana, near the game filled sand banks of the Nata River, where I had come across a gathering of San bushmen and their children . Instead of the traditional hunting spears, they were carrying wicker baskets with fruits and roots, and Ostrich Egg halves to scoop water.

I asked them why they no longer hunted game and travelled without spears, and laughingly they told me in their ‘click’ tongue, through an interpreter, that the spirits of their Gods lived in the Game and creatures they were hunting and the insects they caught. This troubled this group greatly and they had asked the sun what to do about this.  I thought this week I would write a poem for the OM Times poetry group about the mythology at play that I found on that trip. Glossary of African terms used is at the end of the poem…

 

 

San of the Sun

San of the Kalahari rose before dawn, and scaled the high leopard Kop

Discarding Beetle poisoned spear, turning to the East, reaching the lofty top

The glow of the Sun at horizon’s tip threw long shadows on morning’s veldt

Shading eyes from the fires of the Sun with the rag of a dassie’s pelt

The San Sun rises from Crocodile, and voices wisdom at early morn…

…To be swallowed at night, until new day’s dawn

"Sabona, I greet you and what seeks you today?" - the voice of the burning Sun

"Sabona, I greet you, seeking redemption and truth", - the voice of bushman San.

"Witness shadows flee as I rise in fire, and truth there you will find

Hurry to the plains and speak loudly of redemption to your fellow-kind"

San bowed low to the sun and sped to the plains to tell of redemption he found

First to be spotted was Kudu Bull, a spirit long worshipped, pawing the ground

"Sabona, I greet you San, but I fear the harsh spear of past day"

"Fear not" said San "I hunt no more, the sun has shown me the way"

Hovering ‘Go Away Bird’ sung "where is your sling shot today"

"Fear not pretty Bird, I shoot you not, for I have found a new way"

Short Warthog paused in trot to morning water;  "is it peace at last"

"Yes, my friend, I laid down my spear to the Sun and atoned for deeds of the past"

Kudu Bull, Bird and short Warthog followed, the spell firmly cast

Wild Berries and nuts, he gathered; tubers and bush onions, and forest’s ripest fruits

And for his medicine he gathered herbs and roots

From Marula tree he fermented fine wine

And never again did he cross that line

Of harming fellow creatures of the high Mopane plains

For San had become a Gatherer of gifts; drenched by African rains

Glossary:

Sabona – An African greeting. (Short for Salebonane)

Kop – (or Kopje) a hill or mound in Africa

Dassie – Bush squirrel.

Veldt – African grasslands, mainly southern Africa.

San – The bushmen of the Kalahari (the Khoisan Group)

Kudu – An African Antelope. A God in San mythology.

Go Away Bird – a bird of Prey called such as its call sound like "Go Awaaaayy" !!

Warthog – African wild pig with dangerous tusks.

Marula Tree – Indigenous to southern and central Arica, the fermented fruit is high in alcohol content..

Mopane Bush – African savannah.

BIO

Trevor Taylor, an English Law Graduate, is a featured  writer for the Royal Commonwealth Society. He has travelled extensively in the West Indies, The Far East, and Central and South Africa, and visited places as diverse as the Zambezi Valley, and the National Parks of Africa, to the Florida Everglades, and more recently Banff and Lake Louise and Calgary, Canada.

Trevor is a Content Editor with OM Times Magazine and runs the Writer’s Workshop Group in the community forum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Views: 286

Replies to This Discussion

Trevor,

I absolutely fell in love with this poem.  What mastery you have with words and weaving the English with the native language.  I was also struck with the message of the poem.  I would love to share this with others with your permission and of course you would receive full credit.

John

Hi John, thank you so much. I enjoyed writing it. I was delighted that you wanted to share it with others, and of course, you have my full permission. Trevor...
 
John Lowe said:

Trevor,

I absolutely fell in love with this poem.  What mastery you have with words and weaving the English with the native language.  I was also struck with the message of the poem.  I would love to share this with others with your permission and of course you would receive full credit.

John

What a lovely story, Trevor! :)  Thanks so much for sharing! :)  ... and when were you in Calgary??  That's only about 3 hours west of me! :)

Thanks, Marina. Calgary  - a month  at Christmas 2004, with a few days in Banff and Lake Louise, and NY Eve in Edmonton. The drive from Calgary to Banff through the foothills of the rockies blew me away - what an awesomely  beautiful country. My mother's family were from Peachland BC, where she was born, so I had always wanted to go to that part of the world...


Marina {WolfWillow} said:

What a lovely story, Trevor! :)  Thanks so much for sharing! :)  ... and when were you in Calgary??  That's only about 3 hours west of me!

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