Swartberg Scrum

All was fine until they broke the rules
With a minor fault in passing, so the whistle blows
And three rows form up, unlovingly locked together
To prove their worth and gain the upper hand;
Props and locks flanked by floating land masses,
Their continental energies multiplied sixteen-fold,
Ready to be unleashed with geological force
In global encounter as the creator orders them
To bow down, head to head, with the word: ‘Engage’.
So tectonic plates converge in slowest motion
Straining backs and bodies until they fold
Into a writhing mass of rock and shifting sands.
As Newlands cheers the disentangling heap
The mountains settle into grandeur, perfect and still.

April 2012


The Swartberg is one of the best examples of folded mountain chains in the world. These have been formed over millennia by continental plates in collision, rather like rugby forwards in a scrum, and then collapsing into the beauty we enjoy today.

Click here for photographs of the Swartberg Pass and the Karoo