Something out of memory walks toward us, something that refutes the dictionary, that won’t roost in the field guide. Something that once flew and now must trudge. Call it grief, trailing its wings like a shabby overcoat, like a burnt flag. Call it ghost. Call it aftermath. Call it remorse for its ability to bite and bite again. — Don McKay, from “Angel of Extinction,” Angular Unconformity: Collected Poems 1970-2014 (Icehouse Poetry, 2014)
You would've been 100 years old today. I didn't do anything lawyerly on your birthday, but ... I've never told you ... but three years ago, when I was on holiday in the United Kingdom, I spent a day in the Temple area of London, visiting the Inns of Court and the Royal Courts of Justice. It was so easy to imagine you there. I would've enjoyed your company, and I wish we could've popped into a pub to talk. Or argue. Probably. Happy century, Dad. I hope you still have tennis, and rugby, and books, and a veld for a walk.
This is a follow-up to my previous post about apocalyptic waterless Cape Town. "Toilets! What do?" I asked my friends. Ah, you apply a little rhyme that's now doing the rounds. You apply it everywhere, even in public toilets.
if it's yellow
let it mellow
if it's brown
flush it down
I'm continuing my own water-saving experiment, partly because I'm curious, partly out of sympathy with my beloved Cape Town. It's all very un-serious in my case, of course: yesterday, for example, I put a teabag in hot water and then -- as I do so frequently -- forgot about it. Usually I would've thrown it out. Yesterday I drank tepid tea. Every drop counts.
En as dit nie anders kan nie, is daar altyd Japannese whisky (al die pad saamgepiekel SA toe) en Klippies en plaaslike wyn.
As jy van ver af aankom, sê maar van Skilpadtepel se kant af, dan sien jy eers niks, en na ’n rukkie nóg niks, en dan die kerk se kliptoring, en naderhand ook die troppie huise daar rondom. Hulle staan soos ’n klein skaretjie om ’n ongelukstoneel – almal wil bý wees maar niemand wil dit té naby waag nie. -- Oom Kootjie Emmer, André P. Brink
Dis goed om my eie taal te lees. Daardie paragraaf herinner my so intens aan Kamieskroon, die Namakwalandse dorpie waar my ouma gewoon het; en die talle klein dorpies op die platteland in Suid-Afrika.
Sleet in Tokyo, 0 degrees Celsius, possibly colder in my north-facing apartment. Opened tap and warmed hands under running water until I remembered where I'm from. Cape Town. A city without water. They will run out of water ... soon, April, perhaps sooner, and there I was, indolently watching water spiraling down the drain.
South Africa: rich in natural resources, poor in water. Japan: zero natural resources, So Much Water.
I took these two photos of the Theewaterskloof Dam in January 2017, when there was still some water left. Now there's virtually nothing.