The Vision of the Poet

This essay won the first prize in the National Festival of English (1970). It was entered in the Afrikaans-Medium Section - Senior Group. I was a learner from the A J Koen Hoërskool, Bloemhof. 

The Vision of the Poet

I am a poet. 

I invite you to my spiritual companion. Oh, come and learn no know me! Come, find my world - the world of the poet! Oh, come with me, explore the life of the poet! Then, only then can I invite you to come with me and understand my vision - the vision of the poet! 

Who am I? Do you perhaps know? Sometimes I don't know myself and I don't understand myself. I am a human, just as you are, and  I love to live in this beautiful world God placed me in, just as you do... but sometimes I loathe world with its cruelty, its uncertainty, its poverty and its dirt. Sometimes I loathe the people living in this world and I loathe myself, because I am one of the people living in this world. I loathe us, because it's we who make this world cruel with our wars, ii's we who make this world uncertain with our politics, it's we who make this world poor with our royalty and it's we who make this world filthy with our dirt.

 When I feel like this, I cannot understand myself, because how can one loathe this world and still love it? But God made this world - and therefore I love it.

It is wonderful to be a poet! Oh, then I can live many lives: I can the body of a cat, a snake, an elephant, a crow, a tortoise, a camel, a bird, a dinosaur, a mosquito or a rat... what do I care? I can be a pencil, a train, a tree, a stone... oh, I can be anything, because I am a poet!

My world is the world ot the poet. It consists of lines and curves: letters... a's and b's and c's and d's. The letters form words: wonderful words, secretive words, whispering words, dark words, untouchable words, living words, words, words, words. Words ferm verses. Oh what a single line can tell! The lines form stanzas ... poems - my world!

Life. Four letters. The life of a poet. Five little words. One stanza. Oh, life is a wonderful thing and the life of a poet is even more exciting. Life is moments. A poet's moments are the little letters he forms with his hand. The little moments form little seconds - like the little letters forming little words. Little seconds form little minutes - like little words forming forming little verses. The minutes form hours - like verses forming stanzas. Hours form an eternity... like stanzas forming poems - my eternity... my life!  

Do you know me how? Have you entered my world and discovered my life? Then, only then can I invite you to come and understand my vision - the vision of the poet!

Vision? "Things seen in a trance or a dream or in imagination". This is what the dictionary says. But I don't see things in a trance or a dream or in imagination! Oh, tell me, am I in a trance when I see the wrinkled face af on old man in an old, benched tree trunk? An I dreaming when the old cow, with her big brom eyes on our farm tells me that she fears death? Is it imagination when I walk in the veld and hear the grass and plants conversing with the wind? Am I transcending the natural when I think that an earwig dislikes its horrible appearance? Or that a millipede alwys feel tickled? Or that a spider is afraid of itself? Am I? But ... it can't be! All these things are true! I know that: God made them true. God is wonderful, and He made a wonderful world. 

Some people think all dead things are dead... but it cannot be! Dead things can live ... to me at least, because I am a poet. Sometimes a rock tells me of the many years it lay in the sun and of all the many times it felt the rain pouring down onto it and the wind blowing over it. Then it is alive, because I understand its language. Do you also?

Some people think all living things are alive ... but it cannot be! Living things can be dead ... to me at least, because I am a poet. Sometimes a person cannot tell me of the many good things he enjoyed in life and he cannot tell me of the wonderful world he is living in. Then he in dead, because I don't understand him. Do you understand my I actually loathe a dead living creature?  

Oh, some people think a poet always sees sunshine and flowers, always hears music, is always happy and never sees anything ugly in anything. That is not true. There are some times that a poet cries too. I cry because there is death on earth. And illness and pain. I cry because I am a sinner and because the world is full of sin.

I cry because I cannot laugh all the time and because no one tries to understand my vision. I cry because they think whatever I see or think is seen or thought in a trance or a dream or imagination and because they call that my vision! Oh, I cry because it is good to cry sometimes! 

But I love to laugh too, and when I laugh, I laugh because I enjoy it and because I am a poet with the vision of the poet I don's understand because I am a poet!

I have only one desire, only one wish it the life of mine and that is that I could forever stay a poet. I wish I could forever live in my world of words and my eternity of poems among all the things that God made as I see them in my vision s the vision of the poet!