Eastern Cape poems

Introduction

These are some poems I wrote back in 1995. I’m not always too certain of their value but thought I would offer them to my friends on HubPages for comment and, I hope, for their enjoyment also.

Much of the inspiration for these poems comes from the former Transkei region of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, a land rich in history and source of many of the leaders of the liberation movements which brought an end to colonialism and apartheid in South Africa.

The Eastern Cape was the most important interface between black and white and the way that interface was managed by both has deeply influenced the subsequent history of South Africa.

In the Eastern Cape some of the earliest Christian missionary endeavours led to the establishment of schools and universities which have contributed greatly to the development of freedom and learning in not only South Africa, but more broadly in Southern Africa.

So it is a rich and storied land, a land of great beauty and great poverty, and a land of creative and exciting people who have developed over the years a great culture in terms of music, literature and the plastic arts.

So these poems, if they can be called such, are dedicated to the people of the Eastern Cape, and in particular, to those of the former Transkei.

Transkei Evening

The sun drowns in red clouds of dust

As children go home through shadows of thorn trees.

The old men talk, their pipes smoking

As crickets chatter, dogs bark at the birds

Wheeling and weaving worrying to their nests

While cows drift back to thorny enclosures

Ignoring the young men with clattering sticks

Singing and whistling, shouting to friends.

Rising smoke catches the last of daylight’s rays

And spreads the mingled smells of food and

Burning cow dung across the valley

To where I stand

Enjoying the changing light

As it carves the distant hills

With contrasts of colour,

My feet in darkness, my eyes look for the light.

I look for the African light

Anticipating another life,

Another challenge to grasp hold of,

A reborn world to rejoice in,

Another day, another song.

Life for the living goes on and on

While for the dying a different song rises,

And adds to the rich weave of Africa’s new day.

Meditation

What is this feeling of knowing,

This remembering of times past,

The caring for times to come,

The daring of what is now,

This rhythm that holds all together

In the palm of its hand?

This is the known and knowing vibration,

The music of the spheres that comes to be

The music of us.

Jagged or smooth the rhythm,

Vibration of life in the midst of life and death.

A young man helps an old tramp across the road,

Steadying age with the vigour of youth.

Who has the most experience,

Who is the master of past or present?

The music moves within us,

Brings creation to life,

A song thrown with daring at the dark,

A breath breathed against the wind.

And love will come

To consecrate it all.

Love is the flower

And music is its language.

Transkei Day

(Dedicated to Vivienne, who understands)


Cold and dark, dark and cold,

Cold, dark night into

Breaking dawn of windswept bay;

Measured by the rhythm, pattern of waves,

Rocks with beards of grass,

Branches shaken from passing

Drip dew down shirt back;

Sounds of birds, distant dogs, barks,

Whistles, shouts, singing, harmonies,

Battering sharp drum beats;

Feet, bodies, faces alert in the joy of song,

The joy of sound from mouths, hands,

Jerking into motion

Swirling dusty feet.



Calming, cooling streams

That meander curving and curling

Into distant valleys between the high hills

Covered with ferns and scraggly thorn trees

Lion-coloured grass waving in rhythm,

Rhyming to the passing breeze.

River’s mist like smoke rising

In luscious wave upon wave

Until the sun burns and sears, sears and burns

Into screaming daylight with crash

Of rocks and gravel crushing,

Engine’s steady throb and beat

Mechanical echo of drums,

Iron and steel reverberating

Over skin and wood

Changing the times.



What I want is locked in childhood memories

Of soft and gentle

River with tadpole, eel in

Ruminative pool, sun glinting in depths

Of grey green waters, smooth rocks

Hidden and cool and the voices

Drift further away,

Further into dusk,

With lonely shouts,

Yearning songs

The drums

Quiet

Me.

Copyright Notice

The text and all images on this page, unless otherwise indicated, are by Tony McGregor who hereby asserts his copyright on the material. Should you wish to use any of the text or images feel free to do so with proper attribution and, if possible, a link back to this page. Thank you.

© Tony McGregor 2010

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Comments 26 comments

The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Thanks fore sharing, Tony.


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

very evocative of a fascinating landscape and history. Thanks, I enjoyed reading them; the last one seems to be full of the history of the whole region.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Your poetry is beautifully rhythmic and evocative. Of the three, I liked the last one best. You catch the mood and feel of the countryside with an easy grace.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States

You paint a lovely and vivid picture, Tonymac


Cris A profile image

Cris A 7 years ago from Manila, Philippines

These poems make a great tribute to the region in all its splendour. I'm a sucker for beautiful poetry and I shall be leaving this hub extremely satisfied! Thanks for sharing :D


Just_Rodney profile image

Just_Rodney 7 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

Tony,

The last one was the best of fall. Graet hub


Happy World profile image

Happy World 7 years ago from Slovenia, Europe

Thanks Tony, Meditation is my favorite :)


Russ Baleson profile image

Russ Baleson 7 years ago from Sandhurst, United Kingdom

Hi Tony, thanks, really enjoyed them.  I guess I miss the sights and sounds of the Africa I think about so much at times, even the clouds of red dust that I never thought would stir pleasant memories.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona

" Love is the flower, and music is its language...". Simply beautiful Tony....I really enjoyed this vibrant traverse through your Transkei world..Thank you


Peter Kirstein 7 years ago

Truly enjoyed reading your poetry, Tony. Loved them all but Meditation was my favorite.


Madison Parker profile image

Madison Parker 7 years ago from California

Tony,

I really loved them but I was especially taken with Meditation. Good hub!


indy cindy profile image

indy cindy 7 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

You have a gift. Even better that you are so willing to share it. Very well done.


jgrimes331 7 years ago

I too am a lover of the Meditation poem and all of them, for that matter! Thank you so much for sharing. I loved the photographs. I think Africa is the birthplace of the world. I have deep dreams of going there someday.

Cheers, Julie


Tiara designs profile image

Tiara designs 7 years ago from undisclosed location

beautiful-- you are a gifted poet- and the photos are beautiful

I felt as if I had the pleasure of a trip to a land I would never see -

wow

from a fellow poet loved your stuff!


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

They are just beautiful I am glad you didn't lose those little treasures.Thanks Tony.


EYES CHAMbERS 7 years ago

THOSE WERE bEAUTIFUL. I LOVED THE MEDITATION POEM bECAUSE ITS THE THOUGHTS THAT SIT THERE IN SILENT PATIENCE FOR YOU. THE THINGS THAT NEVER LEAVE bUT WE THINK THEY DO :D AND THE LAST PEOM. TRANSKEI DAY, I THOUGHT WAS JUST UP THERE WITH THE OTHER FOR ME. THIS ONE TOOK ME bACK TO TIMES AS A CHILD WHEN I WOULD LINGER bY THE CREEK I WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO bE VISITING bY MYSELF, bUT I HAD NO OTHER WAY TO AND I REMEMbER TRYING TO MAKE THAT CREEK MY OWN RIVER SO IT WOULD TAKE MY WORRIES AWAY WITH ITS SOUNDS OF bRILLIANT MUSIC FOR THE WIND TO TAKE.


EYES CHAMbERS 7 years ago

THOSE WERE bEAUTIFUL. I LOVED THE MEDITATION POEM bECAUSE ITS THE THOUGHTS THAT SIT THERE IN SILENT PATIENCE FOR YOU. THE THINGS THAT NEVER LEAVE bUT WE THINK THEY DO :D AND THE LAST PEOM. TRANSKEI DAY, I THOUGHT WAS JUST UP THERE WITH THE OTHER FOR ME. THIS ONE TOOK ME bACK TO TIMES AS A CHILD WHEN I WOULD LINGER bY THE CREEK I WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO bE VISITING bY MYSELF, bUT I HAD NO OTHER WAY TO AND I REMEMbER TRYING TO MAKE THAT CREEK MY OWN RIVER SO IT WOULD TAKE MY WORRIES AWAY WITH ITS SOUNDS OF bRILLIANT MUSIC FOR THE WIND TO TAKE.


Coolbreezing profile image

Coolbreezing 7 years ago from New York, New York

Nicely done Tony. I love them all beautiful


Benjimester profile image

Benjimester 7 years ago from San Diego, California

Man, you have an amazing talent of drawing the reader right into your poems. Your opening lines are powerful. I like the first poem the best I think. Thanks!


southerngirl profile image

southerngirl 7 years ago from Mississippi

Loved them, especially Meditation,I,also,loved the verse,'Love is the flower And music is it's language'.


Mystique1957 profile image

Mystique1957 6 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

Tony, dear friend! There is a kind of awe in the way your verses pour through the pages. Leaving traces of appreciative thoughts and sights of your surroundings. A mixture of now and the feelings that evoked them. I checked your Blog! It is very classy and quite catching! I loved it! My favorite poems here were: Transkei evening and Meditation. Beautiful!

Thumbs up!

warmest regards and blessings,

Al


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Thanks Al for your kind words. The world and the people around me do inspire awe and wonder indeed!

Love and peace

Tony


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

I love the way you bring your words to life tonymac04. You write with ease , this is evident. I am now looking forward to following you,and will be back over in a bit to read some more. Take care.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa Author

Eiddwen - thanks for the kind words, I really appreciate your comment indeed!

Love and peace

Tony


jandee profile image

jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

Hello Tony,

are you back ? How are you ? Love your Three poems so you must do more or! have you done so and I haven't seen them ?

best to you Tony from m........ (missed you)


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 4 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi Maxine - yes I'm back. Struggling a bit to get back to the writing but enjoying it.

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