Behind that weathered face of yours,
a face that held a Grecian statue's look
of gaunt contempt for all things mean,

what memories of glossy cattle herds,
of honey-coloured domes of grass
and iron-bright spear-blades seethed?

You came to me again, grey bard,
blind as a Homer of the Drakensberg
as I sat hot and fretful in my car,

clamped in a Midrand traffic crawl,
bleeping off signals from my phone
to meetings streets and streets away.

Why had you come to haunt me there?
Knobbed stick, short spear in hand,
you flickered in my trafficked mind.

I wondered what you'd make of us,
you who'd strolled the hills barefoot,
breath-close to kin, to dung and dust.

How would you view the billboard ads,
the maze of streets, the rush, rush, rush
of symbiotic strangers round a town?

I turned a talk-show's chatter down
and saw you whole, a frail old man
dressed in a ragged shirt and coat

shuffling over the dawn-brimmed dew
towards a cattle byre below the crags
where I had come to drink your springs.

 

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