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Africa

Africa, land of great contrast,
Africa, land of the sun,
Of courage and suffering and beauty,
Of struggles for everyone.

Where the desert, aching for water,
Shimmers in dust hope.
And the jungle, tangled and teeming,
Wrestles beneath the sun’s rays.

Where rivers, languid and lazy,
meander snake-like and slow
Or leap forth in breathless abandon
To plummeting rocks below.

Huge mountains, ancient, majestic
Watch o’er the endless plains
Where lion-fearing buck and buffalo graze
On the green of the summer rain.

On land of so many peoples -
Proud or laughing with fun,
Struggling like tropical flowers
Each for his place in the sun.

We must learn to love and to share,
God’s children we are everyone,
White, black and brown together,
Brothers, sisters under the sun.

Catherine van Alphen

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I know a place in Africa…

I know a place in Africa
Where I can feel the sun on my back
And the sand between my barefoot toes
Where I can hear the gulls on the breeze
And the waves crash on the endless shore

I know a place in Africa
Where the mountains touch the skies of blue
And the valleys shelter vines of green
Where the trees spread out a cloth of mauve
And the bushveld wears a coat of beige

I know a place in Africa
Where I can hear the voice of thunder gods
And watch their lightening spears thrown to earth
Where I can breathe the scent of rain clouds
And taste the sweet dew of dusty drops

This is the place of wildness
Of evolution and dinosaurs
Where life began and mankind first stood
Of living fossils and elephants
Where lions roar and springbok herds leap

This is the place of struggle
Of desert plains and thorn trees
Where pathways end and hunters track game
Of horizons and frontiers
Where journeys start and sunsets bleed red

This is the place of freedom
Of exploration and pioneers
Where darkness loomed and light saw us through
Of living legends and miracles
Where daybreak came and hope now shines bright

My heart is at home in Africa
Where the sound of drums beat in my chest
And the songs of time ring in my ears
Where the rainbow mist glows in my eyes
And the smiles of friends make me welcome

My mind is at ease in Africa
Where the people still live close to the soil
And the seasons mark my changing moods
Where the markets hustle with trading
And Creation keeps its own slow time

My soul is at peace in Africa
For her streams bring lifeblood to my veins
And her winds bring healing to my dreams
For when the tale of this land is told
Her destiny and mine are as one

© 2006 Wayne Visser

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Karoo Town, 1939

In a region of thunderstorm and drought,
Under an agate sky,
Where red sand whirlwinds wander through the summer,
Or thunder grows intimate with the plain, and rain
Is a great experience like birth or wonder:
By the half-dry river
The village is strung like a bead of life on the rail,
Along whose thread at intervals each day
Cones of smoke move north and south, are blown
By the prevailing winds below the clouds
That redden the sundown and the dawn.

Guy Butler

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Free State

Across the empty veld there creep
Red dusty roads that follow brave old names,
Marched by tall gums sunlit to windy flames,
Footless, and shrinking in the vast
Where all but wind and tree seems lost in sleep.

Here is more sky than you have seen,
Horizons flat and blue, or toothed with hills
That ever mock with distance; land that fills
Eagerly with light, and is
A loneliness, magnificent and mean.

N.P. Van Wyk Louw

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Strangeways

Granny’s canary
Escaped from its cage
It’s up on the roof
In a terrible rage

Hurling abuse
And making demands
That granny fails
To understand

“Lack of privacy”
“Boring old food”
It holds up placards
Painted and rude

It’s not coming down
The canary warns
Till gran carries out
Major reforms

The message has spread
And now for days
Cage-birds have been acting
In very strange ways.

Roger McGough

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Always Making Things

I made the splash,
The whirlpool, the surf,
The wonder of thunder,
The sounds of the earth.

I formed the egg,
The armpit, the pear,
The parrot, the carrot,
The goat’s glassy stare.

I shaped the twig,
The walrus, the stoat,
The leopard, the shepherd,
The toad’s puffing throat.

I breathed the bud,
The iris, the haze,
The tiger, the Eiger,
The ticking of days.

I thought the sprout,
The cactus, the deep,
The blossom, the possum,
The donkey asleep.

I grew the sap,
The desert, the dawn,
The eagle, the beagle,
The mown summer lawn.

I dreamt the wren,
Orion, the kiss,
The moose and the goose and
the cat’s arch-backed hiss

I made the ant,
The vastness, the dew –

But the best of my heart,
And the height of my heart,
And the light of my heart
Was
when I made
you.

Stewart Henderson

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Skills

The tool unused lies lost in dust,
The sword unused turns dull with rust,
The path unused grows clogged with weed,
The crop untended goes to seed.
Skills unused will soon decay,
Talents wasted, fade away.

I will work with a wish and I’ll work with a will,
And the task that life brings me I’ll gladly fulfil,
And unfolding new skills, many joys shall be mine.
Away dull rust! Let me shine!

- Paul King