These early morning clouds over Thatchwick Cottage are tufts of cottonwool. A wet weekend is forecast for Johannesburg and Pretoria. Our spirits have already been lifted by some spring rain which has given a green sheen to the brittle, yellow veld grass. The prospect of more rain is a great conversation opener with all and sundry: the petrol attendant at the garage, shop assistants in the mall, casual passersby on my early morning walk, Unisa colleagues and friends.
Pretoria afternoon by Anthony Delius is a poem about summer thundershowers.
There leans on the horizon's fence
a slow explosion of heat,
that towers white, grotesque, immense,
above the end of Schoemann Street.
The grieving jacaranda trees,
each on its bruise of fallen flowers,
are withered senators whose pleas
rouse no one in a fatal hour.
The dark mechanic roads run by-
the petals drip on them in vain-
and self-absorbed the black wheels plytheir way with a strange sound of rain.
But vast now in the passiate skies
a praying-mantis reaches down
stretching its pious claws to seize
the helpless insect of the town.
Scared refugees of light and shade
flee west across the startled hills,
men stare from shelters they have made,
feel earth grow stronger that their wills.
The dry earth cracks - and through it comes
a black tremendous man who's dressed
in plumes and ox-tails, urged by drums
with spears of lightning in his fist.