Be inspired to travel South Africa by World Poetry Day

Be inspired to travel South Africa by World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day is on the 21 March, celebrating this unique form of art that has been around for centuries. Poetry is lauded as a wonderful way to preserve our history and culture, both collectively and individually; connecting us through space and time. UNESCO declared the day during its 30th session in 1999, aiming to support artistic expression and linguistic diversity so that voices all over the world could be heard.

South African poetry, especially those about the splendour of our natural environment, show us how lucky we are to maintain an oral and literary tradition that refers to this beautiful country. Here are a few poems we honour in light of World Poetry Day.


The lush, green valley and rolling hills of northern Kwa-Zulu Natal is where you will find a hideaway of serenity and self-exploration. The Buddhist Centre in Ixopo is a popular escape for those wanting to focus on meditation, clearing the mind and basking in the beauty of nature. Yoga, guided mediations, talks and walks through the grounds that include a labyrinth and large white statue of the Buddha are what you can expect on a retreat to Ixopo.

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The Practice of Presence in the Zen Garden at Ixopo

by Cornelia Rohde


Along a leaf close to my eye,

a snail small as the letter O,

senses space with filament feelers.

Soft curd body extends in silence.

Translucent skin reveals

the workings of each inner part.


I watch the measured stately slide,

fluid as my Chi Kung motions,

or the flow of meditation.

I breathe in…

The leaf tip looms…

followed by a chasm.


My breath suspends…

Antennae wave,

pause, discern the void.

Self assured,

he lifts halfway

into endless space.


Grounded in the present,

he reaches for the infinite.

Stretches like a piece of taffy.

Conscious of another leaf,

finds purchase on its edge,

grips the thin trapeze,

then promptly

tugs the rest of him.


I breathe out.

Self-contained again,

he trails slickly along

the leafy pathway

unaware of my silent ovation.


(Via Incwadi)


De Kelders

De Kelders (featured image) is a place that, when you visit, you immediately grasp at how endless inspiration and material for poetry can be found in the magical crags, hauntingly beautiful beaches and meandering walks, all enveloped by wild brush and fynbos.

Rock Formations at De Kelders

By Marelise Van de Merwe


Not everyone loves

a rocky coastline,

the Atlantic sting


its cut-glass water

that pierces the skin.

But some things glisten


around these icy pools,

grow clearer in the shock

of waves that can cut


through rock: that slap, and slap

till they knock the breath

from the landscape.


The chipping

and chipping

that sculpts a story


over millions of years.

Here along the cliffs,

staring out over the water


stand a thousand tall

rock pillars, straining ahead,

licked by the wind.


They are people, my father says,

led from slavery to this lonely coast

through the slow grind of generations.


They stand so still now,

hunched forward,

all different sizes:


man, child. Here and there

a head visible,

a bent shoulder –


and up ahead, with his eroded face,

head bowed forward

turned to stone


midway through the greatest journey

he would ever make: stutter

long since fallen silent


under the ceaseless pounding

of the waves –

Moses: the stooping man,


eyes still on the horizon,

leading his Israelites

out through the sea.


(Via Incwadi)

Stay at the Roundhouse where you can visit the caves and take a walk on the beaches of De Kelders and perhaps write your own poem.

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