Gert Strydom

Gold Star - 32,597 Points (03 April 1964 / Johannesburg, South Africa)

Rounding The Stormy Cape - Poem by Gert Strydom

(after Luis de Camões, Roy Campbell and in answer to André Letoit)

Late at night I am astonished
when a sudden stormy wind does rise,
where my desk with the computer does caper
when a storm does rage and do penetrate into my study

Chorus:
when my desk does rock to and thro do foam through the water
where suddenly it becomes da Gama's own ship and the stormy-wind does buzz,
I hear the boards of the deck stretching and creaking under my feet
when Adamastor life-threatening do tower over me with his black fist

when moments do flash back to Vasco da Gama who is sailing to India
with the stormy winds howling around the ship
as we are rounding the stormy Cape,
where I do stare at the monster creature like da Gama and Luis de Camões

where it guards this coast as a mythic spirit
when the Khoi do call it up for protection and it does make me its own enemy
and I wonder if I am awake or are dreaming in a nightmare
but do taste the salt of the sea that splashes and break over me

are astonished with this passage that are becoming my own,
when a mass of water do pour down
and I am like André Letoit and Roy Campbell
who both do tell about similar experiences

where cruel the rocks do teeth nearer and nearer
and I am against the edge of the endless abyss,
do stare into the terrifying face of the age-old-godly spirit
when in rage the Khoi do lift their spears on the distant beach,

when the bow does suddenly sail silently through a calm ocean
and all danger is now past as if it was only a far off dream,
where I get the fragrance of the spicy islands on the wind,
do find myself back in my own chair in front of my desk.

[References:"Os Lusiadas:Canto V Vasco da Gama" ("The Lusiads")by Luis de Camões."Rounding the Cape" by Roy Campbell."brise marine" by André Letoit.

Poet's note: Luis de Camões and Roy Campbell do write about Vasco da Gama and André Letoit about Bartholomew Dias.In both the poems of Luis de Camões and Roy Campbell the titan Adamastor does appear as the mythological spirit of the Cape of Storms after the Greek myth where the Titans were dispersed and in the poem of Luis de Camões, Vasco Da Gama is involved in a deadly skirmish with the local Khoi people of the Cape.]

Form: Ballade


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017



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