I’m still dreaming about Mozambique, recalling malaria dreams bright as some hibiscus nightmare. Who can tell what ignites the imagination?
In one dream I was a child aged seven staring at a rhinoceros in Gorongosa game reserve in Mozambique.The ancient and leathery rhinoceros was paying no attention me, its crevices crawling with flies. The date was 19 June, 1969. I knew this because I took a pocket diary out of my school blazer pocket to remind myself of the date. My hand in the dream was a dried monkey’s paw, withered and wrinkled.
The rhinoceros was eating grass on the edge of the lake. The lake was rising blue and clear through the zebra grass.
Only look, said the dream. Mayibuye Africa, may Africa return.
Three attacks on local farms this last week, elderly farmers, their wives and families gunned down, no idea if this is a gang rampage or organised efforts to get farmers off the land. Should the farmers get off the land? Would indigenous farmers manage even smallholdings without subsidies? Nobody wants to farm these days, farms are going bankrupt all over the countryside. Fields going back to naked dusty veld. How will we live without food, without maize or yams or Sandveld flat beans? All I can see in the pessimistic mind’s eye is field after field of Monsanto’s genetically modified rapeseed destined for export. Or hectares planted up with biofuels to keep cars on international highways.
And it is cholera season out here, rumours of informal settlements with very ill children and the elderly stricken.
Random notes in the craziness:
* Somebody asked me about my blog names the other day. When I started this WordPress blog, it wouldn’t let me call myself Mary. So I called myself louise for my middle name and WordPress said that wasn’t available. I added a ‘y’. Now I have to use both names and this has caused endless confusion. I may get used to the confusion at some point. Mary LA is smart and bright and ageing sensibly, louisey has pigtails and a puzzled frown. Mary LA is the one who likes to cook, louisey is haunted by poetry that won’t get out from under her skin. Mary LA may be minimally crazier than louisey, but that is not a given. They’re both one.
* if you are on my blog list I will have read your blog from the beginning, perhaps several times. I do that because I like getting to know voices, especially voices searching slowly and patiently for their own distinctiveness.
* most of what happens in my life cannot be mentioned in this blog.
* deep down underneath all the craziness I’m on the side of love. Always. And love, like germ warfare, is craziness of a kind.
* when I’m around people who are hurting and messed up and lost, I feel as if I just hang about in a helpless and ineffectual way, loving and losing, but sometimes this makes all the difference.
The summer rain falling is a glittering pandemonium. Sun shining through the downpour so that the veld turns from tired dusty saffron to beaten gold. I wish I could post some images of this.
While drinking my second cup of tea I have been reading a NYT review of Herbert Leibowitz’s biography of the poet William Carlos Williams:
Many biographies treat artistic creation as a kind of bloodless version of a Caesarian birth, but Leibowitz is terrific at conveying the confusion, uncertainty and doggedness of the life of the artist intent on discoveries. He can also be elegant in characterizing the cross-over between Williams the doctor and Williams the poet, as when, commenting on the splendid untitled poem from “Spring and All” that begins “By the road to the contagious hospital,” Leibowitz notes that Williams was, by this point in his workhorse writing life, listening “to the acoustic properties of words with the same care and skill he devoted to the beating of a patient’s heart.”
From A Celebration:
Walk out again into the cold and saunter home
to the fire. This day has blossomed long enough.
I have wiped out the red night and lit a blaze
instead which will at least warm our hands
and stir up the talk.
I think we have kept fair time.
Time is a green orchard.
Images of colonial Mozambique found in Albuns fotográficos e descrítivos da colónia de Moçambique