1 Broken landscape

2 Musing Inuk




3 Octber 2011 1.3

Broken landscape

Early this morning

I heard it

as I undid the harness

of my last dream:

it pretended to be

a jet aircraft,

filled with quiet passengers

on their way to Cape Town.


I know what it was.

I know it was not a thing

made by man,

or used by him.


I know it was barely contained anger


what we have done, what we are doing,

what we are going to do.


The homes of porcupines and of dassies,

the hunting grounds of eagles and jackals

are turned into parking spaces

baking barrenly in the sun.

The grasses of the veld

grow in narrow strips

between roads and railways

amongst broken bottles and plastic bags.

Whose anger is that?



Musing Inuk             2 October 2007 2.2


The bergs look limp

to me nowaseasons,

I shouldn’t read

National Geographic,

that once was a tree

now covered in blinding shots

of glaciers gliding all the more


sweating in the gloaming –

an old word I now use

for global warming.


I don’t need to read

journalistic twilight musings,

I can see when a bear

is panting to death,

I can see the whales flail

in the a-krillic blue sea,

I know the götterdämmerung

is going to be a hot event.




Colleen Figg Wednesday, 03 October 2007 21:31

Agreed, lovely visuals, fine work, I went mad when I read a-krillic… WONDERFUL DeWaal!

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Susan Williams Wednesday, 03 October 2007 17:07

DeWaal, I don’t have words to describe what I felt when I read the poem. It is extremely powerful and it touched me at an intuitive level of understanding.

And Peter, thanks for unlocking some of the deeper meaning. This is really a wonderful forum for learning.

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DeWaal Venter Wednesday, 03 October 2007 12:41

Thanks for your kind remarks, Mark. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem 🙂

* Götterdämmerung (“Twilight of the Gods” — see Notes) is the last of the four operas that comprise Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), by Richard Wagner. It received its premiere at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on 17 August 1876, as part of the first complete performance of the Ring.


Umlauts: Press the Alt key and typein the ASCII codes (136, 137 etc) on the Num Lock pad on the right hand side of your keyboard.

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mark smith Wednesday, 03 October 2007 12:10

Wow I saw the bear and the whale De Waal.

Your use of languages and made up language is awesome.

What is Gotterdammerung-God Damning?

And how do you get the umlauts?

Your very visual descriptions and great intuition as to what is a very hot topic all determine the success of your beautifully tragic poem.

Thanks, now I am sad.

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DeWaal Venter Wednesday, 03 October 2007 10:48


Thank you very much for your appreciative commentary. It’s a wonderful feeling when you see a reader enjoy and understand a poem is such detail.

I agree with all your comments. But you have found two connotations that I wasn’t aware of.

“Nowaseasons – all seasons shrinking in diversity and unifying into one?”

My intention was to adapt “nowadays” – substitute “seasons” for “days”.

And I wasn’t aware of the “glow” connotation in “gloaming”.

I do think the poem can still yield more than you’ve pulled out so far. E.g. the role of journalism in our lives?

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Peter van der Schyff Wednesday, 03 October 2007 09:24

De Waal, you are just the genius on MyGenius; miles ahead of us lesser-skilled amateurs! This is absolutely overpowering and I want to urge other MG’s to read and reread De Waal’s poem. There is just so much in it.

Where does one start? Choosing a musing Eskimo to consider the impact of what is happening to our Earth was already profound: He is so isolated in his world of ice and glaciers; whales and bears. And then that almost subtle reference to the “berg looks limp”: connecting us in Africa to this lonesome figure with one African word – berg.

Nowaseasons – all seasons shrinking in diversity and unifying into one?

“sweating in the gloaming” – We are talking of icy glaciers sweating in the warming globe, but do I also detect a useful word play with gloaming and “glow”ming? This may be incidental, yet effective. Gloaming is, of course also a reference to the twilight; a distinct leitmotiv throughout the poem, probably referring to the twilight years of Mother Earth as we know her.

A bear (and probably an ice bear at that) “panting” in the ever increasing heat and the whales trying to survive in an “a-krillic blue sea”. Brilliant! In spite of the wordplay between “blue” and “acrylic” (paint), this really talks of a sea sans krills, i.e. no food for the whales. The krills form the staple food for whales across the globe and they are becoming extinct in global warming.

And that very damning conclusion, referring to the Götterdämmerung, literally meaning the Twilight of the Gods, but also in a sense the damnation of the gods, albeit a little forced.

I just love this poem and will still read it many, many times to get more from it.

De Waal, can we not place it on a normal blog to let other MG’s access it as well?