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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Moon

It's a cold wet miserable day here in KZN, grey skies and constant drizzle. If you want to depress a South African give him weather like this. So I've been sitting cuddled up with my dogs and reading Herman Charles Bosman. Here's an extract from the short story, "Drieka and the Moon".

"There is a queer witchery about the moon when it is full - Oom Schalk Lourens remarked - especially the moon that hangs over the valley of the Dwarsberge in the summer time. It does strange things to the mind, the Marico Moon, and in your heart are wild and fragrant fancies, and your thoughts go far away. Then if you have been sitting on your front stoep, thinking these thoughts, and you sigh and murmur something about the way of the world, and carry your chair inside.

I have seen the moon in other places besides the Marico. But it is not the same there.

Braam Venter, the man who fell off the Government lorry once, near Nietverdiend, says that the Marico moon is like a woman laying green flowers on a grave. Braam Venter often says things like that. Particularly since the time he fell of the lorry. He fell on his head they say.

Always when the moon shines full like that it does something to our hearts and that we wonder very much about and that we never understand. Always it awakens memories. And it is singular how different these memories are with each one of us.

Johannes Oberholzer says the full moon always reminds him of the one occasion when he was smuggling cattle over the Bechuanaland border. He says he never sees a full moon without thinking of the way it shone on the steel wire cutters that he was holding in his hand when two mounted policemen rode up to him. And the next night Johannes Oberholzer again had a good view of the full moon: he saw it through a window of the place he was in. He says it was very large and very yellow, except it for the black stripes in front of it.

And it was in the light of the full moon that hung over the thorn-trees that I saw Drieka Breytenbach".

Bechuanaland, today Botswana.


Gaelyn said...

Beautiful in every way.

Jo said...

Hi Phillip, what a stunning post. I love the full moon, I love this extract from HC Bosman's story and I love the fact that we don't often have miserable weather in Africa. Are you still enjoying school holidays? Blessings and love, Jo

Joyful said...