(03 April 1964 / Johannesburg, South Africa)

The Ballade Of The Horseman Of Skimmelperd Pan

(after A. G. Visser)

The church bell in the distance at the rock-church does ring off midnight,
the world around me is lighted bright and in the sky hangs a silver-white moon,
on the plain out of the cliff I hear the thunder of horse hoofs
where at Skimmelperd pan I stand for a moment near to a dilapidated small house

and there is sparks flying where the horse hoofs come down,
a woman white like a ghost walks around at the house and do whimper
while a cold wind is jerking my pants and coat
and the horseman stands up in the stirrups leaning forward

but like a shooting star in the sky above me a bomb bursts
decapitating the Boer warrior that comes at speed on his black horse,
in his one hand is a Mauser rifle and the other clings around pommel of the saddle
while he rides with his legs around the horse and a jet of blood squirts out of him

and the smell of gunpowder and sulphur hangs strong in the air,
where the eyes of the horse does gleam bloody-red where the man is riding nearer
and I can swear that smoke and fire comes from the nostrils of that animal
but when the flustered woman screams out her shock, the cry does cut through me,

where she recognizes her own husband so gruesome and her voice is shrill
where almost in madness she is screaming deafening near to me:
"When are you going to rest Jan van der Meer and will the eternal galloping end?
"My God, it's the blood of my husband that the English do continually spill! "

I stand nailed to the earth where the horse is coming very near,
with the decapitated man and the insane woman I am totally astounded
while the hooves that are drawing flames are thundering straight at me
and the woman keeps screaming: "Why" and again: "Why? "

[Reference: "Die ruiter van Skimmelperdpan" (the horseman of Skimmelperd pan)
by A. G. Visser.]

© Gert Strydom

by Gert Strydom

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