Reading a poem by Rudyard Kipling outside Clarke’s Bookshop in Long Street
“Poetry is lekker-deep”
Everyone, but everyone, on the pavement affirms this comment: “Ja, man! Die wêreld is lekker-deep!”
[Lekker-deep: Sweet-deep. Nice-deep. New South African English. Expressly used for poetry and chance moments of beauty in everyday life]
I am the land of their fathers,
In me the virtue stays.
I will bring back my children,
After certain days.
Under their feet in the grasses
My clinging magic runs.
They shall return as strangers.
They shall remain as sons.
Over their heads in the branches
Of their new-bought, ancient trees,
I weave an incantation
And draw them to my knees.
Scent of smoke in the evening,
Smell of rain in the night –
The hours, the days and the seasons,
Order their souls aright,
Till I make plain the meaning
Of all my thousand years –
Till I fill their hearts with knowledge,
While I fill their eyes with tears.
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) is one of 149 poets included in the amazing definitive anthology, Africa! My Africa! He was an English poet, novelist, short story writer and children’s author who received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907.
Photos by Don Pinnock
Africa! My Africa! An anthology of poems selected by Patricia Schonstein
African Sun Press