The Contour Path

We wend our way across the berg

Past Nursery Ravine

Where the inheritances of childhood survive

In the simplicities of adult faith

And we walk in confidence along the contour path.


The journey continues behind the back

Of twelve apostles multiplying apocryphally

As Judas dies and Steven takes his place;

Today a nephew stands in place of a son

Who too has walked the contour path.


Down Skeleton Gorge into a nation's garden

With pine and eucalyptus shade

Pretending that we're in an alien land

Awaiting the fynbos axe

Marching around the contour path.


Retroviral arguments rage in the flats below

Infected by a suppressing invader

But a president's promises will avail but little

To a people engaged in suicide

While we wander on round the contour path.


So we cross to the renamed peak

Where peaceful doves replace the devil's reign

And van Hunks and his myths

Go up in a puff of smoke, floating cloudily

Above us on the contour path.


The bushes hide tomorrow's blistered pain,

And Alma Mater walls conceal the future's hopes

While the CJR Memorial faces the hinterland,

Pointing forward, outwards, onward

But we trundle slowly along the contour path.


A son strides upwards, leaping the flattened rocks,

Leaving us bewildered by his breathtaking speed,

While the nephew's uncle contents himself

Embracing the mountain in continuing journey

Dawdling along the contour path.


With appreciation to Dorian for the walk

February 2002