Memories of the Kalahari – Poem

Spread the love

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


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,


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 









This entry was posted in poetry and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.