It was a meagre existence
Hand to mouth
And using every gift God gave and more.
The hens scratched around the kraal
For insects and grass seeds
That had blown in on the wind;
The pigs snuffled through the undergrowth
Nosing out the roots of the dry grasses
And wandering off into the bush
For better feeding.
The earth-built huts baked hard in the sun
And the tin roof cracked and creaked in the heat
Warping out of shape and
Letting in a whisper of air
To the baking heat below.
During the day, a board sufficed
To shut out the animals
But of an evening everything was opened.
The voices of adults and children rang out
Across the hillside
The fires were lit and cooking begun;
Water fetched in the plastic buckets
And the plants tended in the dying light.
For that is when,
In the coolness of the evening,
The kraal comes to life
When there is laughter and love
And bellies filled with a meagre
Helping of phutu with amasi
And maybe pumpkin.
And that is when
The meagre existence of things
Can be a trial.
But only look up at the mountains
As night falls
And as the sun goes down,
At the stars sparkling in the heavens
The companionship and song
And sometimes just sometimes
The freedom of existence
In such a place
Makes up for meagre portions.
Poem and photo copyright Englepip©
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