Lost in the mists of time
The dragon lies sleeping,
His hot breath forms clouds
Holding the fierceness that is his beauty.
Dawn dances over his scales
As his muscles ripple in harmony,
Her soft light touches each horn
And his heavy tail slides into sight.
The walls of air fade into sky
While dawn blushes in joy,
Her lips curve into a smile
Anticipating his wakefulness.
As dawn’s sweet singing
Fills the dragon’s lair,
His eye opens to gaze on her
With a passion aflame with fire.
I feel dreams cascading down the waterfall of my memory.
I feel the power of life terrible in its fragility.
I look inside myself and feel the whisper of sadness raining beneath tears
I close my eyes and I am covered in sound.
I remember the strength of Africa –
An aged land that holds the key to the mysteries of life and death,
Love and hate, joy and fear, quiet and chaos.
I shut my eyes and see the brilliant white light caught in the forked
As the air crashes around me with the thunder of her power.
I hear the echoes of silence caught between the whispers of God’s heartbeats
Then Africa rains, freely and unashamedly she mourns the death of another day.
I do not have a name for this feeling,
This deep wide open space within me.
My eyes search for blood saturated sunsets,
My mouth yearns for the raw taste of dust.
My ears listen for the screech of crickets,
They hear the rustle of grasses.
My skin aches to feel the gentle heat of its sun,
I see endless plains behind the veil of closed eyes.
I dream of the acridly fresh smell of a summer storm,
My spine shivers as the sky turns dark green.
I watch forks of electricity shock the noon sky,
And the ancient dragon cocoons into a blue chameleon.
An eggplant curtain is torn open as showers of hard stones bruise the earth,
Steam rises as the hard ground melts before baking.
I fall asleep to an orchestra of sound and chaos,
Crickets screeching, frogs bellowing, snakes hissing.
I hold my hand in front of my face and all I see is a vacuum of shadow,
The eye cannot measure the boundaries of this night shadow.
Only the fireballs of space draw its shadow in pieces of light,
These ancient guards of the night know the depths of Africa’s soul:
As I know the untameable wildness within my African heart…bani gama lako? *
© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.
The Drakensberg (‘the Dragon Mountains’) is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, rising to 3, 482 meters (11, 424 ft) in height and is site to the World’s second highest waterfall, the Tugela Falls.
Drakensberg translates to Dragon Mountains or as the Zulu nation calls it Ukhahlamba “Barrier of Up-Pointed Spears”. Both of these names are appropriate. To me, these mountains always resembled a sleeping dragon.
I grew up in the lush verdant green lands of KwaZulu-Natal, embraced by the warm, maternal currents of the Indian Ocean on the east and fiercely guarded by the mighty Dragon, the Drakensberg Mountain Range, on the west. To this day, I believe that this mighty mountain range is the most hauntingly beautiful place in the world. When I think of “home”, these peaks and valleys of “The Dragon Mountains” will always be the home of my heart no matter where I am in the world. They are my “True North”. This “Dragon” / “Barrier of Up-Pointed Speare” is my place of peace.
* “bani gama lako?” (Zulu) translates “Who are you / What is your name?” *
“Stretching majestically for 245km, the Drakensberg mountain range forms a natural barrier between the western reaches of KwaZulu-Natal (South African Province) and the Kingdom of Lesotho. This is a mountain range of spectacular natural beauty where golden sandstone and soaring basalt buttresses rise above pristine steep-sided river valleys, rocky gorges and high rolling grasslands. With an elevation of over 3 000m, these magnificent mountains offer exceptional conditions for walking and hiking. In the summertime, clear morning skies puff up with towering cumuli-nimbus clouds in preparation for the daily afternoon thundershower. In winter the days are warm and dry. But a balmy 20°C afternoon will plummet with nightfall to below zero, and snow regularly illuminates the peaks.
The Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park offers a natural haven of incredible variety. High up in the Berg the weary walker is rewarded by the hardy and fragile mountain flora common to high altitude climes. On the slopes of the Little Berg the vegetation is called Montane. A variety of different types of grass proliferate, whilst in the secluded valleys, unique plants and trees flourish, especially proteas, cycads, tree ferns, cabbage trees and the giant yellowwood. Common flowers include lilies, lion’s tail, agapanthus, watsonia, helicrysum, erica and the distinctive scarlet spears of the red hot poker.
In its remoteness and height, the Berg offers a magical window open to the fascination of the skies. The sun blazes as an oasis of light, warmth and life. The eager star-gazer is rewarded by a Milky Way that arcs across the night skies in a marvelous mass of stars. The various planets shine forth brightly, unimpaired by buildings or the interference of city lights. The well-known celestial constellations, Orion and Scorpio, are clearly visible and the Southern Cross marks the way with its two pointers. A rising moon in the East, large and glowing, and the setting sun over the Drakensberg peaks, is a wondrous daily experience.” … Excerpted courtesy of DrakensburgMountains