Treasure Island

Gert Strydom

(03 April 1964 / Johannesburg, South Africa)

Table Bay (Cavatina Sequence)


(after Matthew Arnold)

The sea lies flat like a huge lake tonight
but for the spray
that is endlessly sweeping in and out
on the white bay,
some couples walk on the beach
on holiday;
holding their hands under a yellow moon,
some bright beacons and stars will be out soon.

In the distance Table Mountain rises
its huge old bulk,
is gigantic black and flat against the sky
like a ship's hulk
where it marks the African continent;
sails of yachts sulk
as they lie limp in the windless great harbour
while tranquil people are home from labour.

Lights gleam far away at sea, are passing,
with a long lost
feeling of the great endlessness; as waves
fling, churn and toss
the hopes, fears and happiness of nations;
the great-great cost
of ending impoverishment, the ills
of vast centuries as destiny wills.

At a time faith and the will to be great,
did flow to sea,
like rivers in torrents that did rush in;
people were free
from the wars on the great black continent,
no destiny
could harass the nations, the pyramids,
that any living it now does forbid.

Like waves endlessly crushing on the beach,
and never spent
drawing back again, rushing to and thro
the sheer moment
between us has something that is lasting;
evanescent,
with some joys in our mutual discourse
life also flows to its ultimate course.

[Reference: 'Dover Beach' by Matthew Arnold.]

Submitted: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Edited: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
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