Home 9 Literary Journal 9 Volume 21 9 Volume 21 Poetry 9 Claire Anderson – “Drakensberg” and “Kindling”

Claire Anderson
“Drakensberg” and “Kindling”


We drove from valleys like dried foam,
jungle thick, clotted with vegetation,
to where the hills are like downy knees
or arms crossed along the backs of sofas

Here the ground is thick with grasshoppers,
butterflies and songololos as long as your hand
This is ancestral land, but not mine,
or not directly, only borrowed for a time

At the cottage we threaded our way
down a path of poplar leaves and mud
to scrape our knees and sweep downstream
Rocks under river under clouds under trees

The light shifts and a change in the sky
illuminates another part of the hillside:
reveals another patch on the coat
of a great beast settling down before a fire

Rural dusk has an underpull stronger and sadder
than the way the river runs. I woke in the night knowing
that unless I rise to write each morning, my spirit
will join the undercurrent rush that whispers here
of things hoped for but undone



When next I am furious with you
I will catch what I use to fuel the rage
Because any prolonged feeling
Requires stoking to keep ablaze

I must throw on screwed-up balls of paper
Logs of “How could you?” and “I’m right!”
Otherwise that one-time inferno
Burns itself out from red to white

I lose the will to nurse that spark
Easily, without a thought,
When I remember how sweet your ears are
Or how much you laughed on our walk

This is not about repression
I’ll lay out what I feel, for sure
But I’m just not interested in burning
The house down any more


Claire Anderson studied English and History at UCT. Since graduating, she has done a variety of freelance editing, proofreading, research, and writing work. In addition to her word-related jobs, Claire works full-time at a recording studio in Cape Town.