Salamander, Zephyr, Dusketha and Breama

Song of Four Fairies – John Keats

Happy, happy glowing fire!
Dazzling bowers of soft retire,
Ever let my nourish’d wing,
Like a bat’s, still wandering,
Faintly fan your fiery spaces,
Spirit sole in deadly places.
In unhaunted roar and blaze,
Open eyes that never daze,
Let me see the myriad shapes
Of men, and beasts, and fish, and apes,
Portray’d in many a fiery den,
And wrought by spumy bitumen.
On the deep intenser roof,
Arched every way aloof,
Let me breathe upon their skies,
And anger their live tapestries;
Free from cold, and every care,
Of chilly rain, and shivering air.

Let me see the myriad shapes Of men, and beasts, and fish, and apes

Spirit of Fire! away! away!
Or your very roundelay
Will sear my plumage newly budded
From its quilled sheath, all studded
With the self-same news that fell
On the May-grown Asphodel.
Spirit of Fire — away! away!

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Spirit of Fire — away! away!
Zephyr, blue-ey’d Faery turn,
And see my cool sedge-bury’d urn,
Where it rests its mossy brim
‘Mid water-mint and cresses dim;
And the flowers, in sweet troubles,
Lift their eyes above the bubbles,
Like our Queen, when she would please
To sleep, and Oberon will teaze.
Love me, blue-ey’d Faery, true!
Soothly I am sick for you.


Gentle Breama! by the first
Violet young nature nurst,
I will bathe myself with thee,
So you sometimes follow me
To my home, far, far, in west,
Beyond the nimble-wheeled quest
Of the golden-browed sun:

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Come with me, o’er tops of trees,
To my fragrant palaces,
Where they ever floating are
Beneath the cherish of a star
Call’d Vesper, who with silver veil
Ever hides his brilliance pale,
Ever gently-drows’d doth keep
Twilight for the Fayes to sleep.

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Fear not that your watery hair
Will thirst in drouthy ringlets there;
Clouds of stored summer rains
Thou shalt taste, before the stains
Of the mountain soil they take,
And too unlucent for thee make.
I love thee, crystal Faery, true!
Sooth I am as sick for you!

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Out, ye aguish Faeries, out!
Chilly lovers, what a rout
Keep ye with your frozen breath,
Colder than the mortal death.
Adder-eye’d Dusketha, speak,
Shall we leave these, and go seek
In the earth’s wide entrails old
Couches warm as their’s are cold?
O for a fiery gloom and thee,
Dusketha, so enchantingly
Freckle-wing’d and lizard-sided!


By thee, Sprite, will I be guided!
I care not for cold or heat;
Frost and flame, or sparks, or sleet,
To my essence are the same;–
But I honour more the flame.
Spirit of Fire, I follow thee
Wheresoever it may be,
To the torrid spouts and fountains,
Underneath earth-quaked mountains;
Or, at thy supreme desire,
Touch the very pulse of fire
With my bare unlidded eyes.

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Sweet Dusketha! paradise!
Off, ye icy Spirits, fly!
Frosty creatures of the sky!

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Breathe upon them, fiery sprite!

Zephyr and Breama
Away! away to our delight!

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Go, feed on icicles, while we
Bedded in tongue-flames will be.


Lead me to those feverous glooms,
Sprite of Fire!


Me to the blooms,
Blue-ey’d Zephyr, of those flowers
Far in the west where the May-cloud lowers;
And the beams of still Vesper, when winds are all wist,
Are shed thro’ the rain and the milder mist,
And twilight your floating bowers.

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Just an Afternoon Walk

The Daily Post Weekly Photo challenge.

This week, share an image of symmetry

Piet usually takes the big dogs with him when he goes around the lands every morning. They run in front of the bakkie, occasionally darting off after smells into the long grass on the edge of the fields. Sometimes they come back with an unfortunate field mouse hanging from their smiling, panting jaws.

Yesterday we had to be in town early to collect a parcel at the bus stop, so the dogs missed out.  By evening they were stir crazy, agitating for something to do, for some excitement and fun. So I grabbed my camera and took them for a walk.

IMG_2341Although they have very different personalities the black sisters tend to do things together – here it looked like they were marching, their legs moving in perfect unison as they trotted towards the two tanks (and the water!) up ahead.


Two black dogs, two sets of tracks, two water tanks


The dogs suddenly caught the scent of a field mouse, right in the middle of the groundnut field and then the fun began! Pouncing like foxes they snorted and yapped and dug, their tails waging above the plants like flags. Tikkie was in there too but he is short and I lost sight of him – although I could hear his excited barks and growls.


Tails (almost) symmetrically curved








Yin and Yang in symmetry




When we got back home and I showed my photos to Piet we got into (a little bit of) trouble – Piet doesn’t allow the dogs to dig for mice in the fields because they cause too much damage and he said they should have known better.

However, the look of delight on Spud’s face made it worth while.



The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Silhouette

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge – Silhouette

Photography is all about experimenting with light, and then positioning yourself (or your subject) in the right spot to achieve a certain effect. One such effect is a silhouette, in which an outline of someone or something appears dark against a lighter background. Silhouettes can be very dramatic and resemble black shapes without any details, but the effect varies from picture to picture.

Yello-billed Kites feasting on flying ants

Yellow-billed Kites feasting on flying ants

Crepuscular Yellow-billed Kites

Crepuscular Yellow-billed Kites

Midges dancing in the setting sun - Zambezi River

Midges dancing in the setting sun – Zambezi River

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Master of all he surveys

Master of all he surveys

The Textures of Africa – Part II

When Piet first arrived here nine years ago the farm now known as Sitikela was bush.  Thick, solid, tangled, dry bush. And it was brown. The trees were brown, the grass was brown, the leaves scattered on the sand were brown – even the sand was brown.

African winter bush

African winter bush


As he drove up a sandy, unkempt track he noticed the top of a solitary tree towering above the rest of the forest – and it was green! Although it was mid-winter, the heat of the day was almost unbearable and the shade of this tree looked like a likely spot to set up camp; Piet and Sarel, his business partner, lived in tents under that tree for two years while they set to work developing the farm and today our house nestles comfortably in that same shade.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home


The rough and the smooth

Guibourtia coleosperma, also known as  Rhodesian Copalwood, African Rosewood and Large False Mopane is a beautiful, mostly evergreen tree which occurs almost exclusively on Kalahari sand. The tree is ubiquitous on our farm and we have at least ten growing in our garden. Our offices are also built under the shade of one of these magnificent specimens.


I love the varying textures of the bark, smooth, cracked, knotty.


Pockmarked with borer tunnels



The paired leaves look similar to those of the Mopane tree (Colophospermum mopane) which also occurs in this area and it is easy to understand why this tree is sometimes called the Large False Mopane.

Shining emerald green in the sunlight

Shining emerald-green in the sunlight

The leaves look almost translucent from underneath

Almost translucent from underneath

The bright red arils, although somewhat tasteless, are edible and the indigenous people pound them into a flour which they cook into a nutritious meal; they do the same with the seeds and I have read somewhere that this has saved many lives in times of famine.



Of course birds love the seeds and arils too, and we are often entertained by the raucous shouting of trumpeter hornbills, sounding uncannily like crying babies as they skirmish and scuffle for the juiciest ones.


Guibourtia coleosperma  is a much sought-after hardwood. When first cut the timber has a unique pinkish-brown colour which later changes to a rich, warm, edible-looking dark chocolate-brown.


Our own home-made Rosewood dining-room suite, made from wood salvaged during land clearing