Memories of the Kalahari – Poem

Around the world in 50 weeks heads back to SW Africa today, and the nation of Namibia, where I met some San bushmen and had the privilege of working for a few months in 1990 among the Damara People. The Damara speak a click language, which is super hard to emulate, but rhythmic and beautiful to listen to. These memories are distant and consequently a little dusty, so this poem doesn’t quite feel like it made it into the 21st century!

Memories of the Kalahari

Damaraland

A beach, abandoned by millennia,

orphaned by the lake of its birth.

One, two, three grains stretch to infinity

and back; grinding, caking in nostrils.

 

Thirsty pans dream of the deluge,

Mongoose

carving gutters that spew pools –

clustering, evaporating, crusting,

salty glint against the ochre floor.

 

Thorny crescents shade

mongoose and springbok, that

Camel Thorn

vie with Kgalagadi bushmen

for tsamma melon and berries .

 

An open air gallery flaunts her talent.

Glyphs, shaman, hunts, women –

a history book of rock pages,

defying epochs of elemental time.

Rock Art – Twyfeltontein, Namibia

 

I too am thirsty and dry.

Seeking my own dream.

Trying to reunite my soul

with its source, its essence.

 

Waiting for rain in the desert.

 

Copyright 2012 Joanna Marple 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21 Responses to Memories of the Kalahari – Poem

  1. Natalie says:

    What a beautiful poem, Joanna. Your descriptions are so lovely. I felt like I was right there with you for a moment. 🙂

  2. Joanna says:

    Thanks, Natalie, it was a great season… with some unique experiences….. like driving for miles and miles along dry river beds, or being giving a whole goat as a gift. 🙂

  3. Oh wow. Spare and powerful, like the desert itself.

  4. Joanna says:

    Good adjectives, Beth. It is so!

  5. Beautiful poem Joanna. You captured the mood very well. Didn’t realize how desolate the area was. I love the experiences you’ve had.

  6. Lovely words and photos. Thanks for sharing the experience.

  7. Hannah says:

    You used such vivid language and the pictures compliment the text so wonderfully. Thank you for sharing this glimps of Namibia with us.

  8. Joanna says:

    Thank you, Hannah. The desert is a place of such extremes and needs vivid language, I fee.

  9. Wow! That is beautiful, Joanna! So evocative. And I love the pictures that go along with the poem. Amazing!

  10. Joanna says:

    Thank you, Susanna. It was one of those other worldly experiences.

  11. Cortney says:

    Very beautiful writing! I always envy people who can write poetry because I’m no good at it! But you definitely are!! 😀

  12. Joanna says:

    Cortney, aw, thank you.

  13. Amazing. What a wonderful place to experience. You shared it beautifully. Love it.

    • Joanna says:

      Leigh, it was an exotic, eye opening time. Namibia was the first country I visited and worked in, in Africa. I returned to the continent many more times, living and working in different nations. But Namibia does retain a special place in my heart!

  14. Leslie Rose says:

    Love the poem. Sensory delicious.

  15. Joanna says:

    Leslie, thanks for checking out my blog and this poem, and for your lovely comment!

  16. Pingback: Ostrich and Lark – Perfect Picture Book Friday | Miss Marple's Musings

  17. Beautiful poem – the words seem perfect for a PB too!

  18. Joanna says:

    Thank you for checking back to this link, Julie. Maybe if I simplified it a little more, I could consider turning it into a picture book. I truly hadn’t thought of that.

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