Saturday, June 18, 2011


I find Travel Poetry is a very challenging and difficult way of writing about a destination or place, but it appeals to me. Writing in such a style can be unique, interesting, and reveal much more than the usual narrative does by allowing the readers' imagination to interpret the verse the way they may wish to.

For the following, I loaded up a few pictures of the area I explored while on a volunteer project last May. These significant features show this part of Damaraland, Namibia at its best.
I have attempted to interpret each picture with verse, thinking I could then delete the pics and have a stand alone poem that would fully illustrate the beauty of the area.

However, I feel the words and pictures work their magic optimally together.

I welcome anyone's own verses for any of the pics!

Looking out over Damaraland towards Brandberg Mountain.

Your body so entrances
Like a lover takes another partner in
Seduced, I accept all your advances
As desire sends light dancing across your skin.

Evening light filters through the grass seed-tassels.

Sol blazes over horizon
Darkened land performs its burning show
Scorching spears of light stab all around me
As silver grass-heads burn fiery in the glow

Morning's light sets the country ablaze.

Boulders balance high upon
Silent granite koppe sentinels
Nature's game of marbles over aeons
One touch, and in an instant would they fall?

Koppes are small conical weathered hills. Often topped with balancing rocks.

In butterfly leafed profusion
Elephants leave you broken, bare, forlorn
Stripped naked, and left in desolation
With summer's rain your cloak of green reborn

The Mopani tree is a prime species in the area. They can be absolutely demolished in minutes when desert elephants party on them. Very resilient, and that pruning  encourages the tree to become very bushy with its regrowth.

You've been dutiful custodian
A Covenant kept with the old Gods of this land
Your jagged, rocky valleys' conservation
Of art reverently painted by an ancient hand.

Over 10,000 rock paintings and carvings, dating as far as 30,000 years ago, have been recorded around the rocky valleys of the Brandberg Mountain area.

With colours ever changing
Camouflaged you perfectly can blend
Jetting tongue shoots its sticky invitation
Chirpy cricket becomes reluctant dining friend.

Chameleons in abundance represent how prolific insect life is in the region currently.

I drink in of your beauty
Like intoxicating ancient mellowed wine
I draw comfort from your world laid out before me
Because there’s an aching sadness deep in mine.

I had incorrect camera mode select when taking this shot. But I was thrilled to see the effect.

Inspired while sitting on a koppe overlooking the Ugab River, Namibia.

All photos by the author.

Stunning Ugab River scenery.

The mopani or mopane tree  (Colophospermum mopane ) butterfly leaf shape.

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Anonymous said...

Jim, thanks for bringing me along on this journey. I enjoyed it!

Nelieta said...

Looks like you have found your piece of heaven on earth Jim! Beautiful photos!!

Melissa Tandoc said...

I appreciate both the poem and the photos as they blend together well...I love the boulders and the chameleon more than anything else... Bellissimo panorama :)

Papercut Doll said...

I think the poem would of done exactly what you wanted it to but you are right the combination of words and pictures gives you the ultimate imagery - very nicely done Jim and so glad to have you back :D

Jim said...

Hi Cathy, nice to see you here. You have a lot of good info on your site. Following you. Lots more great journeying to be done here- hold my hand!
Nelieta, yeah, wonderful country. And being able to explore a small area in depth makes one appreciate it in so many ways. Third time there, and sadly, the last.

Hi Melissa, yes this time I spent much more time snapping everything - from weathered rocks, to little butterflies to monstrous elephants!

Hi Sarah Jane,
A lot of this sprung to mind when watching sunrises over the land. Seemed to have been planted as a seed in my head by the land, watching the way the sun played along the grass tops.

Dangerous Linda said...

GORGEOUS PHOTOS!!! WoW!!! The chameleon is such a funny creature -- I'm sure he'd think the same about me ;-)

Jim said...

Hi Linda,
You got a tongue as long as his? :-)

AJ said...

Dreamy combination of words and images. Winner! What's kopje?

Jim said...

Hiya AJ,
Kopjes, or koppes are small steep sided hills, often very eroded, boulder strewn.

cathy jones said...

What wonderful poetry and photos! Just perfect! I reposted it to Twitter Jim. I tried to find you on Twitter to add to the post so people could follow but your Twitter link isn't working on Google Chrome. I love to share what I enjoy reading.

~cath xo
@jonesbabie on Twitter

Christy @ Technosyncratic said...

What a clever composition, and the photos and verses blend together beautifully! One of my favorite photos essays, I think. :)

Jim said...

Hi Cath, you'll find me as Jimshu2000 on twitter. Thanks for the tweet.

Wow Christy, nice of you to say. Have you had a look at my giraffe photo eassay? That'll grab you!

lakwatsera de primera said...

such a a harmonious blend of stunning images and lovely verses!

robin said...

Skillfully written - quite tight and technical :)

And gorgeous shots!

Jim said...

Hi Chris,
That sort of country inspires me .

Thanks Robin. Technical?Hope it still exudes soul though.
Thanks for the comments.

Kerry-ann said...

Your words and pictures show that you didn't just visit, you were actually there drinking it in, letting it touch you, letting it change you. What is it about the landscape that it has this power?

Jim said...

I think it's because I spent 2 weeks in one area, sleeping on the ground, no tents, just sleeping bag and mozzie nets, no showers, just buckets of water and cooking over campfire. So different from the usual touristy thing of zooming through. Yeah, I became part of it. When I look through my photos I have heaps of the plants, the smallest flowers, the insects, the rocks, trees, and of course the elephants!

Louise said...

Some gorgeous photos Jim, with lovely, dreamy poetry...Thanks so much for your comments on my poem..nice to see you back!

JIM said...

Very good Jim I have a hard enough time with the images, writing the verse is something I will leave to other more capable then I. I loved the image and verse for the chameleon lol


Nancie said...

Enjoyed both the photos and the poetry. You are most talented, Jim :)