A boomslang stretches out
to probe a nest. A cloud of birds
surrounds it, frantic.
It slinks across to eat the eggs,
swerves back into the foliage,
cuts the light in two.
A baboon barks on the ridge.
The sun is blind and white,
the sunspots flare and plunge.
In the mountains the radio signal comes
and goes. Scraps of torn cloud glitter.
Light. Sky covering sky. Wind.
The terraces were made many years ago,
cut straight to irrigate lucerne.
You can see their lines on the aerial map.
They are covered with thin blue flowers
that close up when the light goes.
Shreds of flayed clouds colour the sky.
On the highway to Karatara,
on golden wires, the swallows
sit flat folded at the end of day.
At the turnoff to the third gate
the light is so intense
the insects blink.
The light goes down in thick air.
We’re alone in the long together
nights and days.
Who can explain
how beauty works, except to say
—here—move over here.
Robert Berold has published four collections of poetry, a memoir of a year spent in China, and a biography of the pioneering Lesotho farmer JJ Machobane.