Saturday, 25 October 2014

i hear africa

This is another poem about Africa that will be in my poetry book, Breathing African Air. 

i hear africa 

the hoopoe calls hoop-hoop
hoop-hoop-hoop on forest
tree trunk, where high-pitched grey
hornbill ignores the kwe
of a grey go-away;
cicada swarms where sun
light warms and plays tymbals;
zizzing a song, crickets
chirping cheerily all
summer long; the turtle
dove mourns the heat and coos
its love song to the breeze;
green garden gnat and red
dotted ladybird, mute
marvels of the insect
world, wing their way from tree
to tree; in dappled shade
of green and yellow grass
hides mounds of red ground where
thousands of termites work;
the anteater’s long snout
goes about to forage
for the delicacy
of the veld; the whinny
and braying bark of a
zebra standing near, while
blue wildebeest ga-noo
in the arid karoo
and graze in the heat haze;
for days the lazy cat,
camouflaged, yawns and waits
for feline fury to
fetch the food and thunders
out a roar to warn the
cackling hyenas, and
hears their manic panic:
ooooh-whoop ooooh-whoop ooooh-whoop,
waiting in pack nearby;
the sun soon sets in shades
on africa and an
elephant bull trumpets
his call to a herd who
hears the rumble and chirps
to the rhythm of the
beat; the hippo, submerged,
surfaces and grunts on
land to roam on sand where
a crocodile once tanned
in the sun; the flutter
of feathers dust the ground
and the owl’s hoo-hooopooo
breaks the silence of dark;
a distant lone jackal
howls to the moon, and my
africa says goodnight

Breathing African Air

This is one of my poems about Africa. It is also the name of the poetry book I plan to publish.

Breathing African Air

Flightless dust bathes the air as the ostrich
dances on two-toed feet to Africa’s beat;
Musty air hangs humid and motionless
’til rain quenches the parched and red-hot heat –
This is Africa: the birthplace of man.

A rainbow stretches across basalt cliffs
and cascading falls; painted rock faces
imprint chronicles of man migrating
across desert, savannah, terraces –
This is Africa: the motion of man.

Small streams meander till rapids beat rock;
Turbulent whitewater erodes the way,
rumbling and tumbling to lose themselves in
cascading cataracts’ mist of spray –
This is Africa: unquenched quest of man.

On blue-green savannah in haze of heat
the springbok stands a statue and gazes;
Zebra camouflaged in shaded dry bush
flicks flies as robust buffalo grazes –
This is Africa: the treasure of man.

Marula mampoer makes monkey mellow;
While elephants forage fermented fruit,
even-toed giraffe spreads and almost splits,
an amazing feat for legs, to lap near coot –
This is Africa: for Safari man.

The albatross dynamically soars;
Nose tubed in anticipation it breathes
salt laden air, polluted like the depths,
where dolphin dances and dives, wrestles, wreathes –
This is Africa: the refuse for man.

Death in rotting carcasses call raptors
in their hordes, to scavenge the battlefields
where fear falls prey to foe; the hyena
eats as a volt of vultures pry for yields –
This is Africa, the wake waits for man.

Coping with the Demons Inside

Rock bottom! There is nothing like it.

When you are deep in the pits of despair and nothing can pull you out of it, don’t worry! From experience, I have learnt that repetition is the Mother of Learning. So, when you are there at rock bottom, lie down, close your eyes and repeat the following words over and over again: I hate my life! I hate my life! I hate my life! I hate my life! Don’t get up. Stay down! Dwell on the very thought that you hate your life. As negative as this may seem, this is the beginning of the journey on the road to recovery. Recovery simply means getting out of the dark pit, fighting the demons inside your head and cleaving to the inner hope that you instinctively have.

The most amazing thing about human life is that your brain has been programmed with three incredible truths:  
  • Your mind does not acknowledge age. Even at 50, your mind will feel young.  
  • Your mind was not created to acknowledge death. Even though you age, your mind does not comprehend death and, therefore, inherently, you do not accept that you will die.  
  • Your mind repels negativity. Repeating negative words mentally empowers your mind to employ survival strategies. 
There are two very powerful emotions that can influence you in a destructive way: absolute anger or absolute fear.


Anger is a very dangerous emotion. Anger retaliates in spitefulness. You may be filled with so much anger that all you want to do is spite the world. Your actions are proof of this. While you cannot plan your emotions, you can learn to control them. In life you will always be confronted with situations that seem unmanageable and more often than not, your reactions to these situations are impulsive.

There are different types of anger. Different emotions trigger the types of anger. Short outbursts of frustration or anger are good. No-one wants to bottle up their anger. This will only feed negativity. A fit of rage is more extreme. You will find yourself shouting whilst physically breaking, punching or kicking things. Violent reactions like these are coping-mechanisms, but very damaging. The damage will not only affect your own health, but also your relationships with other people.

The most dangerous anger is suppressed anger. Over time it poisons you completely: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When you don’t allow yourself to vent your anger or express your frustration, you become a living time bomb. When anger is a resident emotion, it feeds depression and anxiety. Eventually it will lead to self-destructive thoughts and deeds. 

The most important thing to remember about anger is that it is an emotion and it can be controlled. There are three words that you may need to reflect on to understand how you can control anger: forgiveness, gratitude and compassion.


Like anger, fear is a demon within you that you need to control. Fear is the opposite of faith. The truth is that when you fear, you have very little or no faith. Fear feeds anxiety and anxiety kills.

When you have low self-esteem and a lack of confidence in life, you live a life where you do not trust yourself. When you cannot trust yourself, you end up trusting no-one. You wear a mask every day as a coping-mechanism so that no-one will see your insecurities and imperfections. Negative thoughts dwindle in your mind and you become afraid. You look for a safehold, a place where you feel comfortable. This doesn’t have to be a literal place. It may be figurative, like the place of intoxication. You fear the world outside and yearn to be in your safehold all the time

There are many different things that you may fear, like the fear of being alone, the fear of imperfection, the fear of aging and the fear of death. It is important that you work towards overcoming these fears. Before you can do this, you need to get to know yourself. Strengthen your strengths, and acknowledge and accept your weaknesses. Once you start focusing on your strengths, you will build your self-confidence. When you feel better about yourself, you will learn to push fear aside. Practice eventually makes perfect.

It’s natural that you will always become angry and you will always fear. You cannot stop experiencing these emotions, but you can control the degree to which you become angry or afraid. You need to recognize the emotions and take control of each.

Your mind is full of thoughts and mental stories. No-one perceives your thoughts and mental stories the way you do. Only you have the power to change these stories.    

When I look at myself ...

  The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that yo...