In The Drakensberg

Just as I reached the Pholela hut
Night swooped down on me
Like a great black eagle;
Stars snowed across the moonless sky
And I saw the Southern Cross
Lighting the way into the universe.

Alone in my first wilderness
I listened for a human sound;
Nothing ruffled the silence
Except the wind-whisper in the grass
And the hiss of distant streams
Flowing from the flat-topped mountains.

Retreating to my bed
I dreamt I met an ancient San-Man
In his overhang of sandstone
Where I saw the terracotta paintings
Of the eland leaping on the walls,
Half-human in their trance-dance.

The shaman beckoned me
To join him in the spirit world,
But then I woke to the bok-bok cluck
Of the bokmakerie bird
Calling me back to the Giant’s Cup Trail
For a second day of fearful wonder.