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Richard Brautigan

Japan Minus Frogs

For Guy de la Valdène

Looking casually
through my English–Japanese dictionary
I can't find the word frog.
It's not there.
Does that mean that Japan has no frogs?

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I Can't Find The Words

mmmmmm
mmmmmm
listen baby aa
listen
like a rainbow after the rain
like a cool summer rain
like a flower growing by the spring
in the middle of the desert
your my oasis
when I'm tired and thirsty yes you are
you fill me up till I get enough
your like dew drops on my face baby you gotta shake it

I just cant find the words to show you how much
I really love you more
there is no words to touch the thought of losing you
makes me wanna cry everydays a brand new day

like an early morning sunrise
oh baby your full of surprises
and if it ain't with you
I'm so glad God gave me you
and if I had to change one thing about you baby
I wouldn't change a thing
don't you know that I'd give my life to protect you
cause you brought me my dignity

I just can't find the words to show you how much
I really love you more
there is no words to touch the thought of losing you
makes me wanna cry
everydays a brand new day

oooo yeaaaaa a a
I

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There Is No Poem I Can Write / That Can Deal With The Threats

There is no poem I can write
That can deal with the threats
To our very existence-
There is no poem I can write
That can imagine the horrors
We might go through-
Nothing I say and nothing I know
Can prepare
For the evils that might come-

We live on the edge of an ‘abyss’
For which ‘abyss’ is a tame word
And we get by each day
By ignoring the ‘hells’ that might come to us-
Evils worse than death may await us
And nothing I say or write
Can contend with this-

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Can You Stand The Rain

On a perfect day
I know that I can count on you
When thats not possible
Tell me can you weather a storm
cause I need somebody who will stand by me
Through the good times and the bad times
She would always-always be right there
Sunny days everybody loves them-tell me baby
Can you stand the rain
Storms will come-this we know for sure
Can you stand the rain
Love unconditional
Im not asking just of you
Girl to make it last
Ill do whatever needs to be done
But I need somebody who will stand by me
When its tough she wont run
She would always be right there for me.

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Can't Escape the Word

Taking a day away from the pen
makes me feel delinquent again
as if to say why do this thing
when to write will most assuredly bring
peace and comfort as you write,
just as the day is comforted by night.

Tried to change and escape the word
but the word followed and I heard
' Pick me up.
I miss your hand.
Don't leave me whilst you play.
There'll be plenty of time for that my dear
on some faraway day '

So tonight you glide easily and I see
word after word appear before me.
Are you comforted now dearest friend?
Will there never be a time to finally end
this union between my thoughts and you?
Will you follow me when my life is through?

Can't escape, so why do I try?
Cannot let the pen ever run dry.
Some day I know the pen will rest
and I will seek another quest.
But I'll always remember the pen.

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I Can't Drink The Lemonade I Made

When you miss me...
That's when we kiss a lot!
And when we're touching...
That's when we talk nonstop!
And when we're holding...
We begin to rock!
With a rocking heard...
Around the block.

You make my blood just rush!
If I had it in me I would blush.
You make my chest puff up!
Knowing that somebody loves me...
That much!

When you're near me my knees get weak.
And,
When we're not together I don't sleep.
And,
There's little more I can do...
When my mind's always on you too!

And,
When you're near me my knees get weak.
And,
When we're not together I don't sleep.
And,
There's little more I can do...
When my mind's always on you too!

Oh,
I can't drink the lemonade.
No...
I can't drink the lemonade I made!
Oh,
I can't drink the lemonade.
No...
I can't drink the lemonade I made!

And,
When you're near me my knees get weak.
And,
When we're not together I don't sleep.
And,
There's little more I can do...
When my mind's always on you too!

You make my blood just rush!
If I had it in me I would blush.
You make my chest puff up!
Knowing that somebody loves me...
That much!

Oh,
I can't drink the lemonade.
No...
I can't drink the lemonade I made!
Oh,
I can't drink the lemonade.
No...
I can't drink the lemonade I made!

When you miss me...
That's when we kiss a lot!
And when we're touching...
That's when we talk nonstop!
And when we're holding...
We begin to rock!
With a rocking heard...
Around the block.

Oh,
I can't drink the lemonade.
No...
I can't drink the lemonade I made!
Oh,
I can't drink the lemonade.
No...
I can't drink the lemonade I made!
I can't drink the lemonade I made!
No...
I can't drink the lemonade.

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She Could Have Been

An old women
she sat in thought
looking at all these
beautiful young women
passing by the banch in the park,

she then starts to spill tears,
and regrets the missed opportunity
she strives not to believe,
that she has no home,
and memories of his youth days
Start boiling like a melted steel

And one question she asked
'Why did I not cherish my youth days'
Now no one, wants to be in the same pain,
trust me, you want to!

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As Fickle as Fate

Life is a gamble but you've won your bet,
She's the sweetest girl that you've ever met,
You've paid all your bills and your out of debt
And this is as good as it's gonna get!

What will it be like in twenty years?
Will your mother be there to dry your tears?
Your woman has left you and you're in arrears
And you can't find the answer in a thousand beers!

You thought that you'd really got it made,
You felt so happy when you'd been laid,
But luck has run out for you, I'm afraid,
And the King of the Castle has been betrayed!

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Neglecting Oneself

I stop by the mirror
to wash my hands
on a public comfort room
I have no intention of looking at myself
like a map
trying to find the path for a
treasure hunt
there is none i think
that makes day
a story for a pot of gold or what
but by chance i am caught by the face of the mirror
looking at me
copying me
mimicking me
as though i am not myself in there anymore
I dread
and so i washed my hands too quickly
and did not bother
drying them
with that paper or cloth hanging on the side
the face is angry
and it is asking
for my
apology

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The three bad fools

Every fortnight report shows
Wisdom is the last in the class.
One day the English Teacher asked pupils to write an Essay
using the word 'fool'.
Then after sometimes Teacher noticed that Wisdom has finished first.
'Wisdom read aloud your Essay to the class.'
He stretches his story; When my father was drunk
He shouts along the road and Mom drags him home.
He mutters like a sick man;
'There are three fools I dream always,
A Prime Minister of a remote country, Landlord and our Son.'
Then Mom argues; 'Not three dear and what about you? '

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But One Way

Do you survey each possibility, to reach Heaven for eternity?
There's many ways you can find, out of man's exalted mind,
Many teachers reach out to man, with another salvation plan,
Many say, every way my friend, will reach Heaven in the end.

Is there a God and who is He; is there a Heaven and eternity?
If so, is there also a Hell, and must we believe in Emmanuel?
Emmanuel, Who is Christ Jesus, which means 'God with us.'
Sent by God and our Creator, to be for all men, their Savior!

Christ was sent to save Israel, also, every nation, every soul,
All, who would believe in Him, would be saved from their sin,
As by our sin we are condemned, and this applies to all men,
So all men, from every nation, need from God, His Salvation!

Jesus Christ, The Great 'I AM, ' came to earth as God's Lamb,
To be God's Perfect Sacrifice, paying for all His eternal price,
That debt, no man could pay, so The Lord provided The Way,
The Only Way, to Eternal Life, through His Son, Jesus Christ!

From God, there's but one way, despite what man has to say,
For God's Word is absolute, Eternal Truth, no man can refute,
Truth, The Word does claim, under Heaven there is one name,
By which men must be saved, Truth in which, Apostles raved.

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Ramdas Choi Chang Poems 2

Isn't it perfect to think everyone is perfect,
Everyone is perfectly fit
to their own place!
The Great Engineer know which spare can fit,
How to fit
where to fit,
that perfect Engineer perfectly fits everything to His own purpose!

Poem2
Whoever we meet, may not be perfect,
Who ever is perfect,
We may never meet,
Life is that strange thing,
Only imperfect can fit into it,
Whether may it be one or any one around!

Poem3

A flower that looks perfect,
Insects surround it and spoil it,
Below that the frogs wait,
And snake can safely find its food there,
Even the eagle has an eye on perfect flower,
Where it can get some thing to eat!

So, is the story of perfected saint,
Some come to him for their own purpose,
Some start service and service turns to business,
And a saint can be food for thought,
Or he may be source or inspiration to worldly man's business!

Poem4

Men wants to praise,
Woman wants to be praised,
so many write on love,
But no one yet met one's perfect love,
As perfect love is that warmth,
All are dolls made of ice,
And can only melt and flow into lap of love!

Poem5
Nothing is perfect,
No one is perfect,
Everyone can be perfect,
until one continues with a perfect thought that he himself only is imperfect,
As perfection is aim and only aim of all!

Poem6

Infinite particles infinite space,
Infinite time,
and infinite
Thoughts,

I can't find the infinite any where than in me,
When that ant climb on my legs,
Ant came to may ears and said, 'on the tip of my legs infinite bacteria lies '
Bacteria about virus and so on..
I learnt that every thing is relativistic,
Even me and my death are close relatives!

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Na Tian Piet's Sha'er Of The Late Sultan Abu Bakar Of Johor

In the name of God, let his word begin:
Praise be to God, let praises clear ring;
May our Lord, Jesus Christ's[8] blessings
Guide my pen through these poetizings!

This sha'er is an entirely new composition
Composed by myself, no fear of imitation.
It's Allah's name, I will keep calling out
While creating this poem to avoid confusion.

This story I'm relating at the present moment
I copy not, nor is it by other hands wrought;
Nothing whatsoever is here laid out
That hereunder is not clearly put forth.

Not that I am able to create with much ease,
To all that's to come I'm yet not accustomed;
Why, this sha'er at this time is being composed
Only to console my heart which is heavily laden.

I'm a peranakan[9], of Chinese origin,
Hardly perfect in character and mind;
I find much that I can not comprehend,
I'm not a man given to much wisdom.

Na Tian Piet[10] is what I go by name
I have in the past composed stories and poems;
Even when explained to - most stupid I remain
The more I keep talking the less I understand.

I was born in times gone by
In the country known as Bencoolen[11];
Indeed, I am more than stupid:
Ashamed am I composing this lay.

Twenty-four years have gone by
Since I moved to the island of Singapore;
My wife and children accompanied me
To Singapore, a most lovely country.

I stayed in Riau[12] for some time
Together with my wife and children;
Two full years in Riau territory,
Back to Singapore my legs carried me.

At the time when Acheh[13] was waging war
I went there with goods to trade,
I managed to sell them at exhorbitant prices:
Great indeed were the profits I made.

Stricken sick in Acheh were a great many
And those who succumbed were far from few;
As for me I was taken with an infection
In that jungle country hills indeed were legion.

Back to Singapore I retraced my steps
On account of my being felled by illness;
How I was ill! there was no way of telling!
Great was my expenditure! Great my torture!

Once cured, for Acheh again I set sail:
No way for profits, loss was all I got.
Throngs of merchants converged there;
What the Lord wished: bad luck my lot.

Then to the island of Deli[14] set I sail,
There did I abide for a lengthy while;
There too I got to know His Majesty:
Blue-blooded Sultan, the Ruler of Deli!

At that time the ruling Sultan on the throne
Was His Highness Mamun Alrasyid Perkasa[15];
Within his kingdom by far the most mighty:
Of truely gentle and well-mannered integrity.

I also got to know another ruler well,
The ruling Sultan who reigns in Serdang;
His Royal Highness was extremely young:
Of gentle character, of joyous disposition.

The reigning Sultan at that time there
Was His Highness Saleiman Sariful[16],
Within Serdang's kingdom, the most mighty:
In feelings considerate, in thoughts bright.

Both Their Highnesses I got to know well,
Wining and dining we rubbed shoulders;
I owe much to their generous natures,
As long as I live I shan't forget them.

While I was still a resident at Deli,
His Highness threw a gala feast;
Inviting friends he carefully picked,
All of whom he knew best already.

For the marriage of his royal sister
To the Sultan of the kingdom of Serdang,
His Royal Highness summoned me
To present myself at the ceremony.

I addressed my congratulations at the feast:
Indeed most able was I in the use of speech;
Mightily pleased was His Highness himself,
While cheers showered on me from all the guests.

With pleasure His Majesty deigned to tell me
That my wishes were most gratifying,
That only in schools could I have gained
The knowledge to express myself in such a way.

His Highness' joy knew no bounds
He thanked me over and over again;
The rejoicing went on in full throttle,
Only after dusk homeward were we bound.

Both their majesties I came to know well,
Endowed were they of the finest manners:
Courteous of word, gentle in speech,
As long as I live, never will I forget them.

To Allah in high heaven I raised my voice:
Preserve Thee, O Lord, their highnesses' health,
Bestow on them the grace of long life
And protect them from all danger.

During these three years gone by
I have lived in the kingdom of Deli;
Then to Singapore I made tracks:
Oh! what a most lovely country!

Now I'm well grounded in Singapore,
Land of the English Company[17]
Where burgeons bustling activity;
Where every thing may be bought cheap.
Here thrive I in my own flowering cloister
In peace and restful leisure all to myself;
I have sprung deep roots in this island
And at writing day by day I try my hand.

Right at this moment I'm composing a sha'er,
Wherever errors occur I crave your indulgence;
If you find my language[18] rightly wanting,
Know that I'm yet to acquire the necessary flair.

My poem's by a man who needs assistance,
Those adept at poetizing are certainly rare;
I'll own up to my faults wherever they appear:
I do sincerely hope a curse hangs not over me!

I can't make much of the art of poetizing;
One's a great deal more free in one's heart;
When on the day I shall be pronounced dead,
This sha'er will have replaced me in good stead.

This sha'er I'm composing at my own leisure
For I haven't acquired the necessary skill;
If I'm caught making unforgiveable mistakes,
I hope I'll not be made the object of ridicule.

My poem in the hands of the mean
Would suffer the fate of uninformed critics:
In character and intelligence far from perfect,
People who are lacking in wisdom.

What I'm creating is a narrative poem,
Most dull it would be once the plot's obvious;
If my diction leaves much to be desired,
I hope I shan't become the target of abuse!

Composing a sha'er is not an easy task,
For the right idea, one must look high and low;
The tension mounts in one's own chest
Just looking for the word that's best.

With God as a cause, I compose this poem,
This is not an intention which invites mistakes;
If in the making of this poem faults abound,
Forgive me! Dear Reader! I'll recite them all.

Creating this poem relieves my anxiety,
A poem that I fashion, friendless, all alone;
If defects arise, let God acknowledge them,
Forgive me! Oh Lord! Noble art Thou!

I compose this lay at the present moment,
I suffer not that it be other than just right;
I do not commit errors to earn others' scorn:
Whatever I compose, from a clear vision's born.

I sit composing my poem day after day,
With diligence I look for words that are right;
Let me assure you, it's me alone who writes,
There's no one else who speaks in my stead.

In daylight I compose day by day,
Looking for ideas all within myself,
To all I'm open, no deaf ear I turn,
In order to obtain whatever I seek.

I'm labouring at this poem at this moment,
Thanks be to God Almighty's assistance:
Might my task be light and without hindrance
In looking for words in the Malay parlance!

Hardworking am I in my literary endeavour
As always from the beginning to the present;
If ever it appears there looms excess or less,
To my less than clear thoughts blame the mess.

Composing a sha'er is no easy undertaking:
Thoughts get entangled like loose thread;
Always look for ideas while remaining calm
In order that you may find them for easy recall.

The art of writing upon me came,
Its four reaches appear the same;
Do not just put anything down on paper gratis,
Keep looking you must however long it takes.

Most difficult it is to take pen to paper.
Would that it were easy to think clearly!
You may not consign just anything in mind,
For if you miss the mark, blame is your fate.

In writing there develops an art
In order to make reading pleasant,
Searching its poesy till it's found
In order to praise it in our name.

Don't be like a person struck with latah[19]
Unable to understand a word or utterance;
Our name being reduced to utter shambles
In the eyes of all those readers yet to come.

Writing this poem like one in full faith,
Wise, intelligent and sensible as well,
Thoughts so resigned as to right the senses,
So that one may be hailed to the end of time.

Oh God! Lend a ear to my story:
I got to know this King of old lineage
As a result of composing this poem:
Through a newspaper I got to know him.

Herebelow I shall make clear
In order that people may read,
Important to say right from the start,
His Majesty already knew about me.

In this sha'er woven with panegyric
See how the plot of the story unravels:
Of how to the King I came to be known,
Sultan Abubakar was his regal name.

Enthroned was he in the state of Johor:
Wise, intelligent and learned a Sultan,
Most difficult would it be to find a peer,
Great indeed was the fame of his name.

I give praise to his Highness in my poem:
His palace in Singapore, verily a gem,
Chock-full of possessions of all sorts;
I know 'cause I've seen it all myself.

Tijersall was the name of his palace
Where everything was in perfect shape,
Things from Europe, Japan and China,
Of all sorts and of varied colours.

The Tijersall Palace to be found in Singapore
Its beauteous appearance was beyond measure,
Nothing of its kind was anywhere to be seen,
Its internal furnishings were far from cheap.

Compared to other palaces in Johor
Its appearance remains indescribable;
Difficult it would be to find one similar,
So deftly conceived, this Sultan's castle.

My writings began to appear in newspapers;
I reported on everything, on every topic:
My pseudonym: Pen of the Sky in great fame,
My articles displaying much discipline and patience.

In the paper called Betawi Pembrita
Appeared indeed my writings;
Most long in news and reports,
That was why the King rejoiced.

I praised His Majesty at great length,
In, not base, but highly refined terms
Like gold being subject to the precious test:
The name of His Highness was held aloft.

The praises I offered were most fetching
And all of them were heard by the King;
All his vizirs too, as many as there were,
Old and young took most kindly to them.

There was also a Minister to the King,
Mohamad Saleh was his singular name:
A man of great sensibility and wisdom,
Received the honour of Datu' Bintara Luar.

It was this chieftain who read the report
And my eulogy of the monarch revealed
To His Majesty and his Vizir at once;
Having heard it, both of them felt great joy.

Great thanks His Highness addressed me:
Through this chieftain the king got to know me:
Sweet of character, with a joyous disposition,
As long as I live, never will I forget him.

Hope I, the Almighty his life prolong,
His wife and children's together too
So that he may rise ever higher in rank
And live in comfort in a life made long.

This the most true-hearted chieftain
Many the writings he has made clear
From China, Japan and the Whites,
Most good is he in nature and disposition.

Dare you to find one equally clever,
Difficult indeed even in a thousand;
Malays in the land of the Indies:
There are the rich and the poor.

All is most true that I praise in him
Like gold being put to the test;
Most loyal is he when he gives his word,
Gentle of utterance, shorn of all evil.

Most loved is he by the Chinese race,
A minister of much sense and wisdom,
In intelligence and character most perfect,
His fame has spread far and wide.

How the King first got to know me
Was through seeing my writing in ink.
How the Monarch liked what he read
And upon me his liking entrusted.

In the newspapers I explained
If ever any one went in search
Of my person and of my self,
To my children his questions address.

The result: my name in that paper
Appears in there as Celestial Plume;
It is because of this fact I say so,
So that people will rightly know.

You can enquire after me from my son,
Na Kim Liong is the name he goes by,
Ditoko Robinson & Co employs him,
Becoming in the process their clerk.

In the year 1894, on the 23rd of May,
Received a letter from the hand of a minister;
An epistle from Datu' Bintang Luar himself:
A royal behest to appear before him.

In the letter it was thus laid down:
To Johore the King requested I go,
The Princess' nuptial ceremony to attend;
To entertain the guests a sumptuous dinner.

Most anxious was I in within myself
That in the letter it was thus laid out;
Never have been invited by the King,
Not until this day such an invitation.

Oh to Allah up high I gave my thanks
For His Majesty's desire to befriend me,
While at the same time I set about
Preparing a complete set of fineries.

When the hour for setting forth arrived,
I undid my slippers and put on my shoes:
I felt all heated up at that very moment,
And then through the door I strode out.

It was by carriage I set out on my journey,
Past through level jungle and plain;
My pleasure then knew no bounds:
The King choosing to show me favour.

Throughout the drive I kept reflecting
On how I should address my greetings,
All those listening must of needs like them:
Praiseworthy they must be, this was clear.

At the time of my arrival in Johor territory,
It was a country of widespread renown;
I arrived in the place on the dot at noon:
The harbour though was not quite deep.

The King's five steamships rode at anchor,
A great many flags flapped from their masts;
One thing was true, I had arrived in Johor:
I saw a great many horses-and-carriages.

Flags by thousands fluttered all the way,
In colours: black, white, yellow and red;
Throngs of people, countless to the eye,
Lived within the borders of this state.

There were four Chinese theatre-houses,
And two Malay wayang[20] halls as well,
Several female ronggeng[21] and joget[22] joints,
Melodious voices streamed far out from there.

The Chinese were gambling much away,
A great many of them milling in the fortress;
Most brave were they, throwing away things,
Hardly showing the slightest remorse.

In Johore State, there were many Chinese,
Tens of thousands inhabited the country,
By far the men outnumbered the women:
Once having come, they sprung roots there.

As soon as the day turned into night,
Most clear, as by fire, one could see:
Thousands of Japanese lamps turned on
Plunged the palace surroundings in daylight!

Not only the immediate palace grounds,
All along the thoroughfares everywhere,
The fire of Japanese lamps brightened
And exposed the flags in varied colours.

Chock-full of people before the wayang stages
Watched under lights that were most clear:
Surely no less than ten thousand spectators
Came and gathered in front of the wayang stages.

All the sounds of rejoicing were most acute:
The Chinese theatre was located apart
From those of the Malay wayang and joget;
Great the rejoicings, nothing like it I've seen.

Great too the rejoicings of the gamblers there,
Numerous the gambling dens, here and there;
Of those gambling, many were Chinese,
Hailing from areas spread far and wide.

Great indeed the food, of all sorts of colours
That were being sold, right where they gambled;
A good part of the food that the Chinese cooked
Were taken and hawked from place to place.

Such then were the Princess' wedding celebrations
Given in marriage to the King's own royal nephew;
Splendorous the rejoicings, verily indescribable:
Lasting full fifteen days and full fifteen nights.

Her Highness the Princess, daughter of the King
Was about to be married to the princely son
Of His Highness Abdul Rahman, the deceased:
The name of the bridegroom was Prince Ahmad.

Drawn into the audience hall for the dinner,
Exactly at seven o'clock in the evening
Were two hundred and forty of the invitees:
Some were peranakan, most local Chinese.

There were thirty tables for the Chinese,
At each table were seated eight invitees;
Chinese themselves prepared their food
And all those present sat themselves down.

Only I still remained all alone standing.
His Royal Highness bade me approach him:
Me, the towkay[23], to the King was drawn.
Why was I standing all alone by myself?

So I replied with as pleasant a face:
Might Your Highness lay wrath aside,
Your Humble Servant doesn't like Chinese fare,
Your Humble Servant stands satiated right now.

His Royal Highness smiled and said:
I am helping myself to Malay cuisine.
If Your Highness wishes to bid me eat,
Humble Servant most delightfully will.

All the Chinese guests had finished eating,
Only I among the Chinese was still waiting;
All those who had dined most surely departed,
All of them making their way out in turns.

They went to watch the Chinese wayang.
Some indeed took to gambling right there;
Yes, all those who had dined turned up there
To watch the men and women in the wayang.

I was the only Chinese left all to myself,
Close to the presence of His Highness;
And all of a sudden the King espied me,
As being one of his guests at the palace.

Present too the Sultan of Pahang with his heirs,
Even as His Royal Highness the Sultan of Riau;
Many indeed were the princes and princesses
From Riau, Pahang, Trengganu and Kedah.

There at the very same moment of time
Were three Englishmen and three Arabs as well;
Of the Chinese, there was no one but me left,
Amidst thirty Malays, right at that moment.

There too could be seen the orang besar[24],
From their breasts dangled starry medals;
Their attire was of exceptional elegance.
All the viziers and ministers were present too.

Almost similar to costumes worn in Turkey
Were those worn by viziers and ministers,
The highborn Sultan's accoutred clothes
Shone resplendent like a polished diamond.

Even when everyone had wined and dined,
There was no-one to offer a vote of thanks;
At the moment when the clock chimed ten,
All the invited guests held their breath.

Just then the Raja entered his private apartments
To demand of his royal daughter the use of henna[25];
Everybody sought the Princess' fingernails to see:
His Highness' daughter, the bride and bridegroom.

According to the Malay Raja's custom
Sixteen gun salute was duely rendered;
As a sign of respect he wore henna
While music sounded in accompaniment.

Great the animation in the private apartments:
Among the wives of the viziers and ministers,
And among the wives of the orang besar
When the prince was being adorned with henna.

In the private quarters there was much activity,
People were drinking, eating and moving about;
The bridal couple were inured to the use of henna:
The hustle and bustle was beyond description.

The palace apartments shone wholly bright,
People just turned on hundreds of lights:
More or less there were fifty lamps,
The four-branched kroon lamps.

The carpet on the floor twinkled like stars,
So numerous, impossible to say how many;
So lovely, so beautiful were they to watch,
The bride and bridegroom together on the dais.

It was beyond description, such the hectic rejoicing:
A good many wayang and joget to dance at;
By the thousands people stood tirelessly watching,
Verily chock-full wherever you cared to look.

The time it took, it was fifteen full days:
Lighted torches by the hundreds of thousands,
Wayang and joget were compelled to perform,
And all who watched felt happily at ease.

The masts of ships were festooned with lights,
The edge of the ocean seemed just at the side,
The Japanese lamps lay hung up like hats,
All along the pathways nothing looked deserted.

Moreover from the houses of the common folk
Lights went up on account of the festivities,
Hundreds of boxes of candles were used in that night
Together with hundreds of petrol lamps to be right!

Again from one good deed it's amply clear
How ten thousand Japanese lamps, no less
Shone out brilliantly from three palaces:
Thousands of lamps were lit by their inmates.

What's more even at home people enjoyed wayang,
Great was the rejoicing during the day and the night,
All had become infused with hightening spirits,
And many indeed even forgot the hour of prayer.

Most elated was everybody, both old and young,
All kinds of fare, all of it was there to be found:
Different sorts of cakes together with sweetmeats,
All indeed most delicious to the touch of the tongue.

Notes

[1] sha'er: also written thus: syair or sha'ir. This poetic form is the equivalent of the ballad in English. Essentially, it narrates an event(s) or, as in this case, undertakes the biography of an individual. As a narrative poem in Malay, it may even assume the proportions of an epic poem, such as, Sha'ir Ken Tambuhan. The structure of the sha'er is quite formal and inflexible: the narration is undertaken in quatrains whose end rhymes are identical: AAAA, or its variant, and as such may prove to be monotonous and even, quite often, forced and jarring to the ear. The line of verse may habitually contain - as with the pantun - anything from eight to twelve syllables or slightly more, each line being thus - given the frequence of bi-syllabic words in Malay - limited to a minimum of four words (nouns/pronouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs) . Often the lines of the quatrain are linked by internal rhyme: both assonance and consonance. Each line is normally self-contained syntactically and/or semantically, though now and then enjambement may occur: the latter are however limited to a couplet.

[2] Sultan Abu Bakar: b.1831 in Singapore, d.4 June 1895 in London. Sultan of Johore State. When the Malacca sultanate disintegrated under the assault of European colonialism, its legitimate heirs fanned out to Singapore/Johore, Perak and Pahang principally, founding as it were other lineages which are still the 'ruling houses' in these states. Abu Bakar was the son of the bendahara (princely court official ranking immediately after the heir apparent or crown prince in Malay royal succession) who acceded to the Johor throne after the death of the sultan who ceded Singapore to Sir Stamford Raffles.

[3] Syair is the alternative modern spelling of sha'er and Johor likewise of the old spelling Johore.

[4] Na Tian Piet: b.1836, a Chinese peranakan [cf.note 5] in Bencoolen, Sumatra. The date of his demise in Singapore is yet to be determined, though, according to Claudine Salmon, it is certain that he died before Song Ong Siang began the writing of his book: One Hundred Years' History of the Chinese in Singapore in 1923. Biographical details of the author may be gleaned from the poem itself. He was a peripatetic trader in his youth, voyaging between Singapore and Sumatra (as far as Enggano island in the Indian Ocean) in order to trade in spices and small goods before contributing to ephemeral journals and newspapers in Singapore, where he settled in later life after having sojourned for periods of years at a time in Riau and Deli. It is evident that he was a respected member of his community in Singapore. He had a son and daughter who settled in Singapore themselves. Before Claudine Salmon undertook research for her article on him [cf. the Introduction], he was practically unknown to contemporary researchers in the field.

[5] Quoted by P.Parameswaran in Journal of the Institute of Asian Studies, XII,2, (Chennai) , March 1995, p.50.

[6] J.C.Catford, A Linguistic Theory of Translation (An Essay in Applied Linguistics) , London-New York-Toronto: Oxford University Press (Language and Language Learning Series) ,1974, pp.20 & 22ff.

[7] A.K.Ramanujan, The Interior Landscape: Love Poems from a Classical Tamil Anthology, London: Peter Owen (UNESCO Collection of Representative Works) ,1970,125p.

[8] Although Na evokes Allah frequently in his text, this is one rare occasion when Jesus Christ replaces the former. Na was both a Protestant Christian and a lay-preacher.

[9] peranakan: offspring of non-Malay and Malay unions. In Na's case, his father was Chinese.

[10] Na Tian Piet: the first name: 'Tian Piet' means Heavenly Plume.

[11] Bencoolen: Bengkulu, town on the southwest coast of Sumatra. (3.48S-102.16E)

[12] Riau: group of islands to the south of Singapore. (1.00N-102.00E)

[13] Aceh: on the northeast coast of Sumatra. (4.00N-97.00E)

[14] Deli: island south of the south-western coast of Java. (7.00S-105.32E)

[15] Mamun Alrasjid Perkasa Alamsjah: Maakmun Alrasyid Perkasa Alamsyah, Sultan of Deli (1857-1924) , reigned from 1875.

[16] Saleimun Sariful Alamsjah: Sultan Sulaiman Syariful Alamsyah (1862-1946) , reigned in Serdang from 1881 onwards.

[17] English Company: East India Company which bought the island of Tumasik (former name of Singapore) from the Sultan of Johor for a stipend of five thousand dollars, payable annually.

[18] Malay: the Malay used by Na, especially in his prose, appears to have been the spoken form of many in Singapore and the west-coast Malayan towns, right up to the postwar period.

[19] latah: kind of hysteria, according to dictionaries, but Frank A.Swettenham in his Malay Sketches (1896) has this to say on the subject: (cf.p.72)

'The lâtah man or woman usually met with, if suddenly startled, by a touch, a noise, or the sight of something unexpected, will not only show all the signs of a very nervous person but almost invariably will fire off a volley of expressions more or less obscene, having no reference at all to the circumstance which has suddenly aroused attention. As a rule it is necessary to startle these people before they will say or do anything to show that they are differently constituted to their neighbours, and when they have betrayed themselves either by word or deed their instinct is to get away as quickly as possible.'

[20] the Malay word for theatrical shows in general, but also serves as an adjective, as for example: wayang gambar means cinema, or wayang kulit means shadow play.

[21] A traditional popular Malay dance, performed in public at amusement parks where taxi-girls dance for a fee with (mostly) men without effecting any form of bodily contact; the participants sway back and forth to the accompaniment of the rebab (a violin with three chords) and the gendang (a two-faced drum) . The participants also indulge in casual conversation or in a bout of repeating or composing pantun (the traditional Malay form of poetry known to be perfected in the Malay world only) .

[22] A dancing-girl for hire or the dance-hall where such taxi-girls dance the ronggeng (cf. note xvii) or other modern dances like the rumba or samba with their paying partners.

[23] Corrupted spelling of a word of Chinese origin and referring generally to a Chinese businessman or man of wealth in Malaysia or Singapore.

[24] Malay composite word for the aristocracy; orang means human being, man or woman, and besar literally big, large or great while together they mean big man or aristocrat.

[25] A red dye obtained from the inai shrub in Malaysia and used for colouring the finger and toe nails; according to Malay custom, the bride has to ceremoniously colour her finger and toe nails on the eve of her wedding ceremony and known as malam berinai.

(Copyright ©: T. Wignesan, Paris,1994: [Published in The Gombak Review, Vol.4, n° 1 (International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur) ,1999, pp.101-121 and in T. Wignesan. Sporadic Striving amid Echoed Voices, Mirrored Images and Stereotypic Posturing in Malaysian-Singaporean Literatures. Allahabad: Cyberwit.net,2008.)

Translated by T. Wignesan. (c) T. Wignesan,1994, Paris, France.

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Looking For A Hero

I don't need a man
Who thinks he's good for me
I don't need a man
Who's nice and charming
I don't need anything
That people warn me to me
I just need some help
When fears are harming
I'm looking for a hero
When hate is coming to thrill me
When love is trying to kill me
In the dark
Where my armour is broken
I'm looking for a hero
Who will keep me from falling
He's here in my life as a calling
When my hopes keep rewarding to zero
Will you be my hero
Your love must be a sword
Cutting through dark in me
Your thoughts must be a shield
That will protect me
Your dreams must be a towell
Where I can hide from the world
Your hope must be a guard
That won't reject me
I'm looking for a hero
When hate is coming to thrill me
When love is trying to kill me
In the dark
Where my armour is broken
I'm looking for a hero
Who will keep me from falling
He's here in my life as a calling
When my hopes keep rewarding to zero
Will you be my hero
So I don't need a man
Just though we're talking about now
Oh baby, I need you
If you're a fighter
I'm looking for a hero
When hate is coming to thrill me
When love is trying to kill me
In the dark
Where my armour is broken
I'm looking for a hero
Who will keep me from falling
He's here in my life as a calling
When my hopes keep rewarding to zero
Will you be my hero
Will you be my hero

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Can We See The Future Today? [Part 2]

Numerology has been used to peep into the future
since the days of Pythagoras in the B.C era
This is done by adding the numerical digits
of our birthdates until it forms a single digit
Also, numerology converts the alphabets in our names
into numbers for metaphysical interpretation.
The digit summing of our birthdates and birth names from
from one to nine can reveal our future potentials
How accurate is numerology as a tool to foresee the future?
The exactness depends on the numerologist

Can we see the future today?
Geomancy has also been used to peep into the future
Human beings have practiced geomancy for thousands of years
Many cultures and societies have their own form of geomancy
This is the divination by means of signs connected with the soil
Answers to questions can be obtained by writing on the ground
We all remember Master Jesus writing on the ground
when the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to him
This is a classic example of geomancy (see John 8 1-11)

Crystal Gazing is the art of staring or looking into crystal
ball to foresee and predict future events
This tool can also be used for character analysis
and aid in making choices as well as solving problems
For example, a man with four or five girl-friends can use
crystal gazing to decide which one would make a perfect wife
How precise is crystal gazing as a means of peeping into the future?
The accuracy depends on the crystal reader or seer

Can we see the future today?
Some people will prefer to consult the Tarot Cards
to look and foresee the immediate future
Tarot is a system of fortune-telling using a special pack of cards
This special pack contains 78 cards – which is sub-divided into
22 major arcana cards and 56 minor arcana cards
How correct is the tarot in foretelling the future?
The precision depends on the tarot reader or consultant
[To Be Continued in Part 3]

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Can We See The Future Today? [Part 3]

Human beings have peeped into the future with clairvoyance
Clairvoyance is the ability to perceive future events with
powers that are beyond the natural range of the senses
The practitioners of this art are called clairvoyant or psychic
In esoteric language, clairvoyants are said to possess second sight
How true is clairvoyance as a tool to peep into the future?
The accuracy depends on the clairvoyant or the psychic

The ancients have used the oracle to foresee the future
This is a process of consulting the oracular gods through
a priest or priestess to learn about future events.
The oracles are still in use in many places around the world
Even today, some people will not start a new project
or commence an undertaking without consulting the oracle
How correct is the oracle as a means to foretell the future?
The precision depends on the oracle priest or priestess

Can we see the future today?
Human beings have peeped into the future using necromancy
This is the process of invoking or conjuring up the
spirit of the dead to make prophesies and foretell the future
The practitioners of this art are called medium or spiritualist
How accurate is necromancy as a device to forecast the future?
The veracity depends on the spiritualist or the medium

Can we see the future today?
Some people have used I Ching to peep into the future
I Ching is a Chinese system of divination or
fortune-telling that has been in use since the B.C era
In English language, I Ching is called the Book of Changes
There are many methods of using I Ching, but the most
popular ones are the yarrow stalks and the coin methods

Another Chinese method of divination that has been
practiced since the B.C era is called Feng Shui
Feng shui which in english means wind and water is
defined by encarta as a Chinese system that studies
people’s relationships to their environment, especially
their home or workspace, in order to achieve maximum
harmony with the spiritual forces believed to influence all places
Today, believers in feng shui can be found in many countries
[To Be Concluded in Part 4]

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Can't you see it?

You ask me where the love is
But you don't realize it's everywhere
You ask me where our dreams are
But you don't realize it's right in front of us
You ask for the promise
But you don't realize that we already have it
You ask me where the faith is
But you don't realize that everything has faith

Can't you see the love beside us?
Can't you see the dreams in front?
Don't you know the promise is in our hearts?
Don't you know that we have faith?

You ask for things we already have
Where is the love?
Where is our dreams?
Where is the peace?
Where is the promise?
Where is the faith?

Can't you see the love beside us?
Can't you see the dreams in front?
Don't you know the promise is in our hearts?
Don't you know that we have faith?


Can't you see that it's everywhere?
Can't you see the happiness?
Can't you see the peacefulness?
Or are you too busy
with looking at the bad things
To see the good?
When you look at the bad things
That's all you get.

Can't you see the love beside us?
Can't you see the dreams in front?
Don't you know the promise is in our hearts?
Don't you know that we have faith?

You should be saying
I can see the love
I can see the dreams
I can see the promise
I can see the faith
I can see the peace

Can't you see the love beside us?
Can't you see the dreams in front?
Don't you know the promise is in our hearts?
Don't you know that we have faith?

You should be saying
I feel the love
I feel the dream
I feel the promise
I feel the faith
I feel the peace

Can't you see the love beside us?
Can't you see the dreams in front?
Don't you know the promise is in our hearts?
Don't you know that we have faith?

If you don't see those things
I'll show you
It's not hard to show
Love
Be loved
Dream
Have dreams
Promise
Have promise
Faith
Have faith

Can't you see the love beside us?
Can't you see the dreams in front?
Don't you know the promise is in our hearts?
Don't you know that we have faith?

You ask me where the love is
But you don't realize it's everywhere
You ask me where our dreams are
But you don't realize it's right in front of us
You ask for the promise
But you don't realize that we already have it
You ask me where the faith is
But you don't realize that everything has faith

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Patrick White

You Keep Looking

You keep looking for meaning in a world
you say hasn't given you one
worth living for
and you're down and disappointed
and all that red passion
that used to burn like books and leaves
has turned as mystically brown
as the background of a Rembrandt painting
or gone up in smoke
at the Bonfire of the Vanities.
Now you're a copycat Savanarola
in a faculty lounge
trying to turn God back like the Renaissance
for behaving like the Medici.
You used to be a little on the teachy side
but now you're boring and preachy
having settled the whole issue
of what you're doing on earth like a fist.
You once went looking for the point of life like a grail.
Now you plunge it through everyone's heart like a spear.
Like the terrible angel at the garden-gate
to prove you're sincere as fire
you're ready to kill anyone
who likes what they see in the mirror
that never wears the same face twice
when it looks at you.
The truth is
since you're fond of the word
you never found a meaning big enough
to accommodate that Delphic python of an ego
that's kept sloughing you like skin over the years.
You were always too big
for any chrysalis or cocoon you ever crawled into
and the greatest miracle of transformation
as far as you were concerned
is the shape you took in the womb
like the pearl of the moon
from a grain of dirt
at the bottom of a seascape.
What unified field theory could ever contain you
like some cosmic Houdini in chains and locks
twisting upside down over a snakepit of thoughts
trying to think your way out of the box
as if you were the ultimate escape-artist
and could pour the universe out of the universe?
Even space wasn't enough of an embrace
to hold you
and now time's given up on you as well.
Eleven dimensions were never enough
to take your measure.
You wanted to be the golden Buddha
that wormed its way into the heart
of an enlightened rose.
The blackhole in the heart of the galaxy.
The exception that became the rule.
But you never understood
the candle of life that burns within us all
sheds more than one petal
over the course of a lifetime
spent gazing at the flame
fixed in the seeming stillness
like a flower that blooms in fire
every two thousand years
you can't look at with the same eyes twice.
You never understood that when you look at things
long enough with an open heart
and an unbounded mind
they estrange your eyes
into new ways of seeing.
They bring you into being
like a star turning in its own light
or dark jewels of anti-matter
to see what value
you might place on them
when the gem looks through its own eyes
into the radiance of life without an appraiser.
But the flaws in perfection
are the laws of a fool
or to secularize a mystic dictum
the same eyes by which you see them
are the eyes by which they see you.
Two dunces on the same stool.
One a myth of origin
that got lost in its own meaning
chasing its own tail to see where it begins
and the other the head of a reform school
for black matter
absentee without permission.
Two abnormalities
looking for reality
in the corners of the human condition
that baffles it with the clarity
of a hundred million books
giving private lap dances
in sheep-eyed sylvan nooks
for the savage wolf-popes
with shepherd's crooks
whose greed is the meaning of prayer.
But the universe whispers itself
into its own ear like a secret
even it couldn't keep to itself
and everything in existence
from starfish galaxy to solitary night bird
cherishes what they've heard
each in their own awareness
not of the word at the beginning of things
as if things were created out of choice
but of the voice behind it
that sings freely to each alone
in the silence of their solitude
like a fountain-mouth of light
that lavishes the world on everyone
without intention or design
as if everyone were privvy to the same mind
and it were thinking out loud
in the picture-music of colours
you can only see
before the arising of signs.
That's why it looks empty and dark
beyond the blazing billboards
of your highway paradigms.
And for someone like you
who prefers to jump into snakepits
to ask for directions
when the whole world is free-falling
without a map or parachute
through a bottomless abyss
without any sense of up or down
it must dwarf you the same as it does
a featherless bird breaking out of the egg
like a new universe into a nest of flying serpents.
Daring says feathers
and falling takes flight
because it's in the nature of the abyss
to heal itself like wounded water
when it bathes in its own light
like light and stars
or snakes in the talons of eagles
the lowest of the low
raised up to the highest of the high
like a constellation
when they suddenly realize
in the annihilation of opposites
how dragons win their wings.
You ask fraudulent questions
and expect honest answers.
You try to define what you're seeking
even before you look.
You stir the starmud in the mirror
to make things clearer
but you still end up looking at things
with dirty eyes.
And out of the darkness
like bats to burdock
blinded by that porchlight of a mind
you keep on all night
in a frenzy of insects
your thoughts are glued
like kites that flew into the powerlines
or flies into a spider-web
of sticky views
on how to keep it together
like a shepherd of clouds
trying to pasture the weather
in the starfields of a mountain sky.
You want to be the mystic arachnid
with fangs like the moon
and radiant elixirs for toxins
you can cook in a spoon
without flagging the fit
with a pennant of blood
that puts its cosmic armour on
and shouldering its lance like a syringe
tilts at the windmill of your arm
like the meaning of Don Quixote
lost like a peduncle in the ensuing phylum
of a species that went extinct
for refusing to adapt
to a reformed chaos theory of evolution
flintknapping the future fossils
of an improved Stone Age.
You keep thinking
if you roll enough rocks up a hill
like Sisyphus
you can build a fortress
or the Al Hambra
or the Taj Mahal
or even the Parthenon
but things just keep coming down on you
like an avalanche down from the world mountain
into the valley of the kings
where the mummies wait for their afterlives
under pyramids of quicksand.
Only a fool would spend a whole lifetime
trying to learn
what he already knows.
In order to understand such a thing
one must be such a person.
Already being such a person
why bother to understand such a thing?
You're trying to map
the stars in your genome
to find your constellation
like a long lost home
that walked out on you like a threshold
when you went a step too far
and added yourself like a big capital I
to the beginning of that tongue-tied alphabet
that made profound spelling-mistakes
in your amino acids
the moment you started
to proof-read your protein
for punctuation marks
that were too big-hearted.
Vicarious mind!
Faecal pile and pit.
Snake-eyed jewel
at the bottom of the dung heap
that schools the fools' laughter
by ignoring it
you can keep on looking for a kissing-stone
in a hail of Leonid meteors
that keep knocking you out
like a dinosaur
that takes it on the lip
like a quick jab
from an under-rated mammal
or you can hoard water in your humps
like a camel on the moon
that moves through the cool of the night
in a caravan of shadows
trading with the desert
toward ancient oases of ice
that taste like the frozen tears
of the ballroom chandeliers
that gathered like stars
to take advantage of the night
by twisting your words
like a speech impediment
that whispers like the sea in her ears
at a dance
for club-footed glaciers.
But you can't wriggle out of the universe
like an anaconda in thin-skinned panty-hose
that's just swallowed itself all the way up to the nose
like a mystic condom
playing it safe
down on its knees
to make cosmic contact
without contracting an unforgivable disease.
And there are dangerous cave-bears
that live at the back of your mouth
among the skulls of your ancient ancestors
and bones like bad omens
so you won't find much shelter there
to keep the fire alive long enough
through the long night ahead
to finish the painting
you were working on
without saying a word
that would discolour your voice with a meaning
that won't be discovered for years
long after your words have moved on without you
like the common language
of a migrant tribe
in the direction of their spears.

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Lewis Carroll

The Hunting of the Snark

Fit the First
THE LANDING

'Just the place for a Snark!' the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
By a finger entwined in his hair.

'Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
What i tell you three times is true.'

The crew was complete: it included a Boots--
A maker of Bonnets and Hoods--
A Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes--
And a Broker, to value their goods.

A Billiard-maker, whose skill was immense,
Might perhaps have won more than his share--
But a Banker, engaged at enormous expense,
Had the whole of their cash in his care.

There was also a Beaver, that paced on the deck,
Or would sit making lace in the bow:
And had often (the Bellman said) saved them from wreck,
Though none of the sailors knew how.

There was one who was famed for the number of things
He forgot when he entered the ship:
His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,
And the clothes he had bought for the trip.

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
They were all left behind on the beach.

The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
He had seven coats on when he came,
With three pairs of boots--but the worst of it was,
He had wholly forgotten his name.

He would answer to 'Hi!' or to any loud cry,
Such as 'Fry me!' or 'Fritter my wig!'
To 'What-you-may-call-um!' or 'What-was-his-name!'
But especially 'Thing-um-a-jig!'

While, for those who preferred a more forcible word,
He had different names from these:
His intimate friends called him 'Candle-ends,'
And his enemies 'Toasted-cheese.'

'His form in ungainly--his intellect small--'
(So the Bellman would often remark)
'But his courage is perfect! And that, after all,
Is the thing that one needs with a Snark.'

He would joke with hyenas, returning their stare
With an impudent wag of the head:
And he once went a walk, paw-in-paw, with a bear,
'Just to keep up its spirits,' he said.

He came as a Baker: but owned, when too late--
And it drove the poor Bellman half-mad--
He could only bake Bridecake--for which, I may state,
No materials were to be had.

The last of the crew needs especial remark,
Though he looked an incredible dunce:
He had just one idea--but, that one being 'Snark,'
The good Bellman engaged him at once.

He came as a Butcher: but gravely declared,
When the ship had been sailing a week,
He could only kill Beavers. The Bellman looked scared,
And was almost too frightened to speak:

But at length he explained, in a tremulous tone,
There was only one Beaver on board;
And that was a tame one he had of his own,
Whose death would be deeply deplored.

The Beaver, who happened to hear the remark,
Protested, with tears in its eyes,
That not even the rapture of hunting the Snark
Could atone for that dismal surprise!

It strongly advised that the Butcher should be
Conveyed in a separate ship:
But the Bellman declared that would never agree
With the plans he had made for the trip:

Navigation was always a difficult art,
Though with only one ship and one bell:
And he feared he must really decline, for his part,
Undertaking another as well.

The Beaver's best course was, no doubt, to procure
A second-hand dagger-proof coat--
So the Baker advised it-- and next, to insure
Its life in some Office of note:

This the Banker suggested, and offered for hire
(On moderate terms), or for sale,
Two excellent Policies, one Against Fire,
And one Against Damage From Hail.

Yet still, ever after that sorrowful day,
Whenever the Butcher was by,
The Beaver kept looking the opposite way,
And appeared unaccountably shy.


Fit the Second
THE BELLMAN'S SPEECH

The Bellman himself they all praised to the skies--
Such a carriage, such ease and such grace!
Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise,
The moment one looked in his face!

He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.

'What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?'
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
'They are merely conventional signs!

'Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we've got our brave Captain to thank:
(So the crew would protest) 'that he's bought us the best--
A perfect and absolute blank!'

This was charming, no doubt; but they shortly found out
That the Captain they trusted so well
Had only one notion for crossing the ocean,
And that was to tingle his bell.

He was thoughtful and grave--but the orders he gave
Were enough to bewilder a crew.
When he cried 'Steer to starboard, but keep her head larboard!'
What on earth was the helmsman to do?

Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes:
A thing, as the Bellman remarked,
That frequently happens in tropical climes,
When a vessel is, so to speak, 'snarked.'

But the principal failing occurred in the sailing,
And the Bellman, perplexed and distressed,
Said he had hoped, at least, when the wind blew due East,
That the ship would not travel due West!

But the danger was past--they had landed at last,
With their boxes, portmanteaus, and bags:
Yet at first sight the crew were not pleased with the view,
Which consisted to chasms and crags.

The Bellman perceived that their spirits were low,
And repeated in musical tone
Some jokes he had kept for a season of woe--
But the crew would do nothing but groan.

He served out some grog with a liberal hand,
And bade them sit down on the beach:
And they could not but own that their Captain looked grand,
As he stood and delivered his speech.

'Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your ears!'
(They were all of them fond of quotations:
So they drank to his health, and they gave him three cheers,
While he served out additional rations).

'We have sailed many months, we have sailed many weeks,
(Four weeks to the month you may mark),
But never as yet ('tis your Captain who speaks)
Have we caught the least glimpse of a Snark!

'We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days,
(Seven days to the week I allow),
But a Snark, on the which we might lovingly gaze,
We have never beheld till now!

'Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again
The five unmistakable marks
By which you may know, wheresoever you go,
The warranted genuine Snarks.

'Let us take them in order. The first is the taste,
Which is meager and hollow, but crisp:
Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,
With a flavor of Will-o-the-wisp.

'Its habit of getting up late you'll agree
That it carries too far, when I say
That it frequently breakfasts at five-o'clock tea,
And dines on the following day.

'The third is its slowness in taking a jest.
Should you happen to venture on one,
It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed:
And it always looks grave at a pun.

'The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines,
Which is constantly carries about,
And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes--
A sentiment open to doubt.

'The fifth is ambition. It next will be right
To describe each particular batch:
Distinguishing those that have feathers, and bite,
And those that have whiskers, and scratch.

'For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums--' The Bellman broke off in alarm,
For the Baker had fainted away.


Fit the Third
THE BAKER'S TALE

They roused him with muffins--they roused him with ice--
They roused him with mustard and cress--
They roused him with jam and judicious advice--
They set him conundrums to guess.

When at length he sat up and was able to speak,
His sad story he offered to tell;
And the Bellman cried 'Silence! Not even a shriek!'
And excitedly tingled his bell.

There was silence supreme! Not a shriek, not a scream,
Scarcely even a howl or a groan,
As the man they called 'Ho!' told his story of woe
In an antediluvian tone.

'My father and mother were honest, though poor--'
'Skip all that!' cried the Bellman in haste.
'If it once becomes dark, there's no chance of a Snark--
We have hardly a minute to waste!'

'I skip forty years,' said the Baker, in tears,
'And proceed without further remark
To the day when you took me aboard of your ship
To help you in hunting the Snark.

'A dear uncle of mine (after whom I was named)
Remarked, when I bade him farewell--'
'Oh, skip your dear uncle!' the Bellman exclaimed,
As he angrily tingled his bell.

'He remarked to me then,' said that mildest of men,
' 'If your Snark be a Snark, that is right:
Fetch it home by all means--you may serve it with greens,
And it's handy for striking a light.

' 'You may seek it with thimbles--and seek it with care;
You may hunt it with forks and hope;
You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
You may charm it with smiles and soap--' '

('That's exactly the method,' the Bellman bold
In a hasty parenthesis cried,
'That's exactly the way I have always been told
That the capture of Snarks should be tried!')

' 'But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
And never be met with again!'

'It is this, it is this that oppresses my soul,
When I think of my uncle's last words:
And my heart is like nothing so much as a bowl
Brimming over with quivering curds!

'It is this, it is this--' 'We have had that before!'
The Bellman indignantly said.
And the Baker replied 'Let me say it once more.
It is this, it is this that I dread!

'I engage with the Snark--every night after dark--
In a dreamy delirious fight:
I serve it with greens in those shadowy scenes,
And I use it for striking a light:

'But if ever I meet with a Boojum, that day,
In a moment (of this I am sure),
I shall softly and suddenly vanish away--
And the notion I cannot endure!'


Fit the fourth
THE HUNTING

The Bellman looked uffish, and wrinkled his brow.
'If only you'd spoken before!
It's excessively awkward to mention it now,
With the Snark, so to speak, at the door!

'We should all of us grieve, as you well may believe,
If you never were met with again--
But surely, my man, when the voyage began,
You might have suggested it then?

'It's excessively awkward to mention it now--
As I think I've already remarked.'
And the man they called 'Hi!' replied, with a sigh,
'I informed you the day we embarked.

'You may charge me with murder--or want of sense--
(We are all of us weak at times):
But the slightest approach to a false pretense
Was never among my crimes!

'I said it in Hebrew--I said it in Dutch--
I said it in German and Greek:
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)
That English is what you speak!'

''Tis a pitiful tale,' said the Bellman, whose face
Had grown longer at every word:
'But, now that you've stated the whole of your case,
More debate would be simply absurd.

'The rest of my speech' (he explained to his men)
'You shall hear when I've leisure to speak it.
But the Snark is at hand, let me tell you again!
'Tis your glorious duty to seek it!

'To seek it with thimbles, to seek it with care;
To pursue it with forks and hope;
To threaten its life with a railway-share;
To charm it with smiles and soap!

'For the Snark's a peculiar creature, that won't
Be caught in a commonplace way.
Do all that you know, and try all that you don't:
Not a chance must be wasted to-day!

'For England expects--I forbear to proceed:
'Tis a maxim tremendous, but trite:
And you'd best be unpacking the things that you need
To rig yourselves out for the fight.'

Then the Banker endorsed a blank check (which he crossed),
And changed his loose silver for notes.
The Baker with care combed his whiskers and hair,
And shook the dust out of his coats.

The Boots and the Broker were sharpening a spade--
Each working the grindstone in turn:
But the Beaver went on making lace, and displayed
No interest in the concern:

Though the Barrister tried to appeal to its pride,
And vainly proceeded to cite
A number of cases, in which making laces
Had been proved an infringement of right.

The maker of Bonnets ferociously planned
A novel arrangement of bows:
While the Billiard-marker with quivering hand
Was chalking the tip of his nose.

But the Butcher turned nervous, and dressed himself fine,
With yellow kid gloves and a ruff--
Said he felt it exactly like going to dine,
Which the Bellman declared was all 'stuff.'

'Introduce me, now there's a good fellow,' he said,
'If we happen to meet it together!'
And the Bellman, sagaciously nodding his head,
Said 'That must depend on the weather.'

The Beaver went simply galumphing about,
At seeing the Butcher so shy:
And even the Baker, though stupid and stout,
Made an effort to wink with one eye.

'Be a man!' said the Bellman in wrath, as he heard
The Butcher beginning to sob.
'Should we meet with a Jubjub, that desperate bird,
We shall need all our strength for the job!'


Fit the Fifth
THE BEAVER'S LESSON

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

Then the Butcher contrived an ingenious plan
For making a separate sally;
And fixed on a spot unfrequented by man,
A dismal and desolate valley.

But the very same plan to the Beaver occurred:
It had chosen the very same place:
Yet neither betrayed, by a sign or a word,
The disgust that appeared in his face.

Each thought he was thinking of nothing but 'Snark'
And the glorious work of the day;
And each tried to pretend that he did not remark
That the other was going that way.

But the valley grew narrow and narrower still,
And the evening got darker and colder,
Till (merely from nervousness, not from goodwill)
They marched along shoulder to shoulder.

Then a scream, shrill and high, rent the shuddering sky,
And they knew that some danger was near:
The Beaver turned pale to the tip of its tail,
And even the Butcher felt queer.

He thought of his childhood, left far far behind--
That blissful and innocent state--
The sound so exactly recalled to his mind
A pencil that squeaks on a slate!

''Tis the voice of the Jubjub!' he suddenly cried.
(This man, that they used to call 'Dunce.')
'As the Bellman would tell you,' he added with pride,
'I have uttered that sentiment once.

''Tis the note of the Jubjub! Keep count, I entreat;
You will find I have told it you twice.
'Tis the song of the Jubjub! The proof is complete,
If only I've stated it thrice.'

The Beaver had counted with scrupulous care,
Attending to every word:
But it fairly lost heart, and outgrabe in despair,
When the third repetition occurred.

It felt that, in spite of all possible pains,
It had somehow contrived to lose count,
And the only thing now was to rack its poor brains
By reckoning up the amount.

'Two added to one--if that could but be done,'
It said, 'with one's fingers and thumbs!'
Recollecting with tears how, in earlier years,
It had taken no pains with its sums.

'The thing can be done,' said the Butcher, 'I think.
The thing must be done, I am sure.
The thing shall be done! Bring me paper and ink,
The best there is time to procure.'

The Beaver brought paper,portfolio, pens,
And ink in unfailing supplies:
While strange creepy creatures came out of their dens,
And watched them with wondering eyes.

So engrossed was the Butcher, he heeded them not,
As he wrote with a pen in each hand,
And explained all the while in a popular style
Which the Beaver could well understand.

'Taking Three as the subject to reason about--
A convenient number to state--
We add Seven, and Ten, and then multiply out
By One Thousand diminished by Eight.

'The result we proceed to divide, as you see,
By Nine Hundred and Ninety Two:
Then subtract Seventeen, and the answer must be
Exactly and perfectly true.

'The method employed I would gladly explain,
While I have it so clear in my head,
If I had but the time and you had but the brain--
But much yet remains to be said.

'In one moment I've seen what has hitherto been
Enveloped in absolute mystery,
And without extra charge I will give you at large
A Lesson in Natural History.'

In his genial way he proceeded to say
(Forgetting all laws of propriety,
And that giving instruction, without introduction,
Would have caused quite a thrill in Society),

'As to temper the Jubjub's a desperate bird,
Since it lives in perpetual passion:
Its taste in costume is entirely absurd--
It is ages ahead of the fashion:

'But it knows any friend it has met once before:
It never will look at a bride:
And in charity-meetings it stands at the door,
And collects--though it does not subscribe.

' Its flavor when cooked is more exquisite far
Than mutton, or oysters, or eggs:
(Some think it keeps best in an ivory jar,
And some, in mahogany kegs:)

'You boil it in sawdust: you salt it in glue:
You condense it with locusts and tape:
Still keeping one principal object in view--
To preserve its symmetrical shape.'

The Butcher would gladly have talked till next day,
But he felt that the lesson must end,
And he wept with delight in attempting to say
He considered the Beaver his friend.

While the Beaver confessed, with affectionate looks
More eloquent even than tears,
It had learned in ten minutes far more than all books
Would have taught it in seventy years.

They returned hand-in-hand, and the Bellman, unmanned
(For a moment) with noble emotion,
Said 'This amply repays all the wearisome days
We have spent on the billowy ocean!'

Such friends, as the Beaver and Butcher became,
Have seldom if ever been known;
In winter or summer, 'twas always the same--
You could never meet either alone.

And when quarrels arose--as one frequently finds
Quarrels will, spite of every endeavor--
The song of the Jubjub recurred to their minds,
And cemented their friendship for ever!


Fit the Sixth
THE BARRISTER'S DREAM

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

But the Barrister, weary of proving in vain
That the Beaver's lace-making was wrong,
Fell asleep, and in dreams saw the creature quite plain
That his fancy had dwelt on so long.

He dreamed that he stood in a shadowy Court,
Where the Snark, with a glass in its eye,
Dressed in gown, bands, and wig, was defending a pig
On the charge of deserting its sty.

The Witnesses proved, without error or flaw,
That the sty was deserted when found:
And the Judge kept explaining the state of the law
In a soft under-current of sound.

The indictment had never been clearly expressed,
And it seemed that the Snark had begun,
And had spoken three hours, before any one guessed
What the pig was supposed to have done.

The Jury had each formed a different view
(Long before the indictment was read),
And they all spoke at once, so that none of them knew
One word that the others had said.

'You must know ---' said the Judge: but the Snark exclaimed 'Fudge!'
That statute is obsolete quite!
Let me tell you, my friends, the whole question depends
On an ancient manorial right.

'In the matter of Treason the pig would appear
To have aided, but scarcely abetted:
While the charge of Insolvency fails, it is clear,
If you grant the plea 'never indebted.'

'The fact of Desertion I will not dispute;
But its guilt, as I trust, is removed
(So far as related to the costs of this suit)
By the Alibi which has been proved.

'My poor client's fate now depends on you votes.'
Here the speaker sat down in his place,
And directed the Judge to refer to his notes
And briefly to sum up the case.

But the Judge said he never had summed up before;
So the Snark undertook it instead,
And summed it so well that it came to far more
Than the Witnesses ever had said!

When the verdict was called for, the Jury declined,
As the word was so puzzling to spell;
But they ventured to hope that the Snark wouldn't mind
Undertaking that duty as well.

So the Snark found the verdict, although, as it owned,
It was spent with the toils of the day:
When it said the word 'GUILTY!' the Jury all groaned,
And some of them fainted away.

Then the Snark pronounced sentence, the Judge being quite
Too nervous to utter a word:
When it rose to its feet, there was silence like night,
And the fall of a pin might be heard.

'Transportation for lift' was the sentence it gave,
'And *then* to be fined forty pound.'
The Jury all cheered, though the Judge said he feared
That the phrase was not legally sound.

But their wild exultation was suddenly checked
When the jailer informed them, with tears,
Such a sentence would have not the slightest effect,
As the pig had been dead for some years.

The Judge left the Court, looking deeply disgusted:
But the Snark, though a little aghast,
As the lawyer to whom the defense was entrusted,
Went bellowing on to the last.

Thus the Barrister dreamed, while the bellowing seemed
To grow every moment more clear:
Till he woke to the knell of a furious bell,
Which the Bellman rang close at his ear.


Fit the Seventh
THE BANKER'S FATE

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

And the Banker, inspired with a courage so new
It was matter for general remark,
Rushed madly ahead and was lost to their view
In his zeal to discover the Snark

But while he was seeking with thimbles and care,
A Bandersnatch swiftly drew nigh
And grabbed at the Banker, who shrieked in despair,
For he knew it was useless to fly.

He offered large discount--he offered a check
(Drawn 'to bearer') for seven-pounds-ten:
But the Bandersnatch merely extended its neck
And grabbed at the Banker again.

Without rest or pause--while those frumious jaws
Went savagely snapping around-
He skipped and he hopped, and he floundered and flopped,
Till fainting he fell to the ground.

The Bandersnatch fled as the others appeared
Led on by that fear-stricken yell:
And the Bellman remarked 'It is just as I feared!'
And solemnly tolled on his bell.

He was black in the face, and they scarcely could trace
The least likeness to what he had been:
While so great was his fright that his waistcoat turned white-
A wonderful thing to be seen!

To the horror of all who were present that day.
He uprose in full evening dress,
And with senseless grimaces endeavored to say
What his tongue could no longer express.

Down he sank in a chair--ran his hands through his hair--
And chanted in mimsiest tones
Words whose utter inanity proved his insanity,
While he rattled a couple of bones.

'Leave him here to his fate--it is getting so late!'
The Bellman exclaimed in a fright.
'We have lost half the day. Any further delay,
And we sha'nt catch a Snark before night!'


Fit the Eighth
THE VANISHING

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

They shuddered to think that the chase might fail,
And the Beaver, excited at last,
Went bounding along on the tip of its tail,
For the daylight was nearly past.

'There is Thingumbob shouting!' the Bellman said,
'He is shouting like mad, only hark!
He is waving his hands, he is wagging his head,
He has certainly found a Snark!'

They gazed in delight, while the Butcher exclaimed
'He was always a desperate wag!'
They beheld him--their Baker--their hero unnamed--
On the top of a neighboring crag.

Erect and sublime, for one moment of time.
In the next, that wild figure they saw
(As if stung by a spasm) plunge into a chasm,
While they waited and listened in awe.

'It's a Snark!' was the sound that first came to their ears,
And seemed almost too good to be true.
Then followed a torrent of laughter and cheers:
Then the ominous words 'It's a Boo-'

Then, silence. Some fancied they heard in the air
A weary and wandering sigh
Then sounded like '-jum!' but the others declare
It was only a breeze that went by.

They hunted till darkness came on, but they found
Not a button, or feather, or mark,
By which they could tell that they stood on the ground
Where the Baker had met with the Snark.

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away---
For the Snark *was* a Boojum, you see.

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Lewis Carroll

The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits

Fit the First.
THE LANDING

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide

By a finger entwined in his hair.
"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:

What I tell you three times is true."
The crew was complete: it included a Boots—
A maker of Bonnets and Hoods—
A Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes—

And a Broker, to value their goods.
A Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense,
Might perhaps have won more than his share—
But a Banker, engaged at enormous expense,

Had the whole of their cash in his care.
There was also a Beaver, that paced on the deck,
Or would sit making lace in the bow:
And had often (the Bellman said) saved them from wreck,

Though none of the sailors knew how.
There was one who was famed for the number of things
He forgot when he entered the ship:
His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,

And the clothes he had bought for the trip.
He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
They were all left behind on the beach.

The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
He had seven coats on when he came,
With three pairs of boots—but the worst of it was,
He had wholly forgotten his name.

He would answer to "Hi!" or to any loud cry,
Such as "Fry me!" or "Fritter my wig!"
To "What-you-may-call-um!" or "What-was-his-name!"
But especially "Thing-um-a-jig!"

While, for those who preferred a more forcible word,
He had different names from these:
His intimate friends called him "Candle-ends,"
And his enemies "Toasted-cheese."

"His form is ungainly—his intellect small—"
(So the Bellman would often remark)
"But his courage is perfect! And that, after all,
Is the thing that one needs with a Snark."

He would joke with hyænas, returning their stare
With an impudent wag of the head:
And he once went a walk, paw-in-paw, with a bear,
"Just to keep up its spirits," he said.

He came as a Baker: but owned, when too late—
And it drove the poor Bellman half-mad—
He could only bake Bridecake—for which, I may state,
No materials were to be had.

The last of the crew needs especial remark,
Though he looked an incredible dunce:
He had just one idea—but, that one being "Snark,"
The good Bellman engaged him at once.

He came as a Butcher: but gravely declared,
When the ship had been sailing a week,
He could only kill Beavers. The Bellman looked scared,
And was almost too frightened to speak:

But at length he explained, in a tremulous tone,
There was only one Beaver on board;
And that was a tame one he had of his own,
Whose death would be deeply deplored.

The Beaver, who happened to hear the remark,
Protested, with tears in its eyes,
That not even the rapture of hunting the Snark
Could atone for that dismal surprise!

It strongly advised that the Butcher should be
Conveyed in a separate ship:
But the Bellman declared that would never agree
With the plans he had made for the trip:

Navigation was always a difficult art,
Though with only one ship and one bell:
And he feared he must really decline, for his part,
Undertaking another as well.

The Beaver's best course was, no doubt, to procure
A second-hand dagger-proof coat—
So the Baker advised it—and next, to insure
Its life in some Office of note:

This the Banker suggested, and offered for hire
(On moderate terms), or for sale,
Two excellent Policies, one Against Fire,
And one Against Damage From Hail.

Yet still, ever after that sorrowful day,
Whenever the Butcher was by,
The Beaver kept looking the opposite way,
And appeared unaccountably shy.

Fit the Second.
THE BELLMAN'S SPEECH.

The Bellman himself they all praised to the skies—
Such a carriage, such ease and such grace!
Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise,
The moment one looked in his face!

He had bought a large map representing the sea,
Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
A map they could all understand.

What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So the Bellman would cry and the crew would reply
"They are merely conventional signs!

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
But we've got our brave Captain to thank"
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best—
A perfect and absolute blank!"

This was charming, no doubt but they shortly found out
That the Captain they trusted so well
Had only one notion for crossing the ocean,
And that was to tingle his bell.

He was thoughtful and grave—but the orders he gave
Were enough to bewilder a crew.
When he cried "Steer to starboard, but keep her head larboard!"
What on earth was the helmsman to do?

Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes:
A thing, as the Bellman remarked,
That frequently happens in tropical climes,
When a vessel is, so to speak, "snarked."

But the principal failing occurred in the sailing,
And the Bellman, perplexed and distressed,
Said he had hoped, at least, when the wind blew due East,
That the ship would not travel due West!

But the danger was past—they had landed at last,
With their boxes, portmanteaus, and bags:
Yet at first sight the crew were not pleased with the view,
Which consisted of chasms and crags.

The Bellman perceived that their spirits were low,
And repeated in musical tone
Some jokes he had kept for a season of woe—
But the crew would do nothing but groan.

He served out some grog with a liberal hand,
And bade them sit down on the beach:
And they could not but own that their Captain looked grand,
As he stood and delivered his speech.

"Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your ears!"
(They were all of them fond of quotations:
So they drank to his health, and they gave him three cheers,
While he served out additional rations).

"We have sailed many months, we have sailed many weeks
(Four weeks to the month you may mark),
But never as yet ('tis your Captain who speaks)
Have we caught the least glimpse of a Snark!

"We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days
(Seven days to the week I allow),
But a Snark, on the which we might lovingly gaze,
We have never beheld till now!

"Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again
The five unmistakable marks
By which you may know, wheresoever you go,
The warranted genuine Snarks.

"Let us take them in order. The first is the taste,
Which is meagre and hollow, but crisp:
Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,
With a flavour of Will-o-the-wisp.

"Its habit of getting up late you'll agree
That it carries too far, when I say
That it frequently breakfasts at five-o'clock tea,
And dines on the following day.

"The third is its slowness in taking a jest.
Should you happen to venture on one,
It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed :
And it always looks grave at a pun.

"The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines,
Which it constantly carries about,
And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes—
A sentiment open to doubt.

"The fifth is ambition. It next will be right
To describe each particular batch:
Distinguishing those that have feathers, and bite,
From those that have whiskers, and scratch.

"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums——" The Bellman broke off in alarm,
For the Baker had fainted away.

Fit the Third.
THE BAKER'S TALE.

They roused him with muffins—they roused him with ice—
They roused him with mustard and cress—
They roused him with jam and judicious advice—
They set him conundrums to guess.

When at length he sat up and was able to speak,
His sad story he offered to tell;
And the Bellman cried "Silence! Not even a shriek!"
And excitedly tingled his bell.

There was silence supreme! Not a shriek, not a scream,
Scarcely even a howl or a groan,
As the man they called "Ho!" told his story of woe
In an antediluvian tone.

"My father and mother were honest, though poor—"
"Skip all that!" cried the Bellman in haste.
"If it once becomes dark, there's no chance of a Snark—
We have hardly a minute to waste!"

"I skip forty years," said the Baker, in tears,
"And proceed without further remark
To the day when you took me aboard of your ship
To help you in hunting the Snark.

"A dear uncle of mine (after whom I was named)
Remarked, when I bade him farewell—"
"Oh, skip your dear uncle!" the Bellman exclaimed,
As he angrily tingled his bell.

"He remarked to me then," said that mildest of men,
" 'If your Snark be a Snark, that is right:
Fetch it home by all means—you may serve it with greens,
And it's handy for striking a light.

"'You may seek it with thimbles—and seek it with care;
You may hunt it with forks and hope;
You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
You may charm it with smiles and soap—'"

("That's exactly the method," the Bellman bold
In a hasty parenthesis cried,
"That's exactly the way I have always been told
That the capture of Snarks should be tried!")

"'But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
And never be met with again!'

"It is this, it is this that oppresses my soul,
When I think of my uncle's last words:
And my heart is like nothing so much as a bowl
Brimming over with quivering curds!

"It is this, it is this—" "We have had that before!"
The Bellman indignantly said.
And the Baker replied "Let me say it once more.
It is this, it is this that I dread!

"I engage with the Snark—every night after dark—
In a dreamy delirious fight:
I serve it with greens in those shadowy scenes,
And I use it for striking a light:

"But if ever I meet with a Boojum, that day,
In a moment (of this I am sure),
I shall softly and suddenly vanish away—
And the notion I cannot endure!"

Fit the Fourth.
THE HUNTING.

The Bellman looked uffish, and wrinkled his brow.
"If only you'd spoken before!
It's excessively awkward to mention it now,
With the Snark, so to speak, at the door!

"We should all of us grieve, as you well may believe,
If you never were met with again—
But surely, my man, when the voyage began,
You might have suggested it then?

"It's excessively awkward to mention it now—
As I think I've already remarked."
And the man they called "Hi!" replied, with a sigh,
"I informed you the day we embarked.

"You may charge me with murder—or want of sense—
(We are all of us weak at times):
But the slightest approach to a false pretense
Was never among my crimes!

"I said it in Hebrew—I said it in Dutch—
I said it in German and Greek:
But I wholly forgot (and it vexes me much)
That English is what you speak!"

"'Tis a pitiful tale," said the Bellman, whose face
Had grown longer at every word:
"But, now that you've stated the whole of your case,
More debate would be simply absurd.

"The rest of my speech" (he explained to his men)
"You shall hear when I've leisure to speak it.
But the Snark is at hand, let me tell you again!
'Tis your glorious duty to seek it!

"To seek it with thimbles, to seek it with care;
To pursue it with forks and hope;
To threaten its life with a railway-share;
To charm it with smiles and soap!

"For the Snark's a peculiar creature, that won't
Be caught in a commonplace way.
Do all that you know, and try all that you don't:
Not a chance must be wasted to-day!

"For England expects—I forbear to proceed:
'Tis a maxim tremendous, but trite:
And you'd best be unpacking the things that you need
To rig yourselves out for the fight."

Then the Banker endorsed a blank check (which he crossed),
And changed his loose silver for notes.
The Baker with care combed his whiskers and hair,
And shook the dust out of his coats.

The Boots and the Broker were sharpening a spade—
Each working the grindstone in turn:
But the Beaver went on making lace, and displayed
No interest in the concern:

Though the Barrister tried to appeal to its pride,
And vainly proceeded to cite
A number of cases, in which making laces
Had been proved an infringement of right.

The maker of Bonnets ferociously planned
A novel arrangement of bows:
While the Billiard-marker with quivering hand
Was chalking the tip of his nose.

But the Butcher turned nervous, and dressed himself fine,
With yellow kid gloves and a ruff—
Said he felt it exactly like going to dine,
Which the Bellman declared was all "stuff."

"Introduce me, now there's a good fellow," he said,
"If we happen to meet it together!"
And the Bellman, sagaciously nodding his head,
Said "That must depend on the weather."

The Beaver went simply galumphing about,
At seeing the Butcher so shy:
And even the Baker, though stupid and stout,
Made an effort to wink with one eye.

"Be a man!" said the Bellman in wrath, as he heard
The Butcher beginning to sob.
"Should we meet with a Jubjub, that desperate bird,
We shall need all our strength for the job!"

Fit the Fifth.
THE BEAVER'S LESSON.

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

Then the Butcher contrived an ingenious plan
For making a separate sally;
And fixed on a spot unfrequented by man,
A dismal and desolate valley.

But the very same plan to the Beaver occurred:
It had chosen the very same place:
Yet neither betrayed, by a sign or a word,
The disgust that appeared in his face.

Each thought he was thinking of nothing but "Snark"
And the glorious work of the day;
And each tried to pretend that he did not remark
That the other was going that way.

But the valley grew narrow and narrower still,
And the evening got darker and colder,
Till (merely from nervousness, not from goodwill)
They marched along shoulder to shoulder.

Then a scream, shrill and high, rent the shuddering sky,
And they knew that some danger was near:
The Beaver turned pale to the tip of its tail,
And even the Butcher felt queer.

He thought of his childhood, left far far behind—
That blissful and innocent state—
The sound so exactly recalled to his mind
A pencil that squeaks on a slate!

"'Tis the voice of the Jubjub!" he suddenly cried.
(This man, that they used to call "Dunce.")
"As the Bellman would tell you," he added with pride,
"I have uttered that sentiment once.

"'Tis the note of the Jubjub! Keep count, I entreat;
You will find I have told it you twice.
'Tis the song of the Jubjub! The proof is complete,
If only I've stated it thrice."

The Beaver had counted with scrupulous care,
Attending to every word:
But it fairly lost heart, and outgrabe in despair,
When the third repetition occurred.

It felt that, in spite of all possible pains,
It had somehow contrived to lose count,
And the only thing now was to rack its poor brains
By reckoning up the amount.

"Two added to one—if that could but be done,"
It said, "with one's fingers and thumbs!"
Recollecting with tears how, in earlier years,
It had taken no pains with its sums.

"The thing can be done," said the Butcher, "I think.
The thing must be done, I am sure.
The thing shall be done! Bring me paper and ink,
The best there is time to procure."

The Beaver brought paper, portfolio, pens,
And ink in unfailing supplies:
While strange creepy creatures came out of their dens,
And watched them with wondering eyes.

So engrossed was the Butcher, he heeded them not,
As he wrote with a pen in each hand,
And explained all the while in a popular style
Which the Beaver could well understand.

"Taking Three as the subject to reason about—
A convenient number to state—
We add Seven, and Ten, and then multiply out
By One Thousand diminished by Eight.

"The result we proceed to divide, as you see,
By Nine Hundred and Ninety and Two:
Then subtract Seventeen, and the answer must be
Exactly and perfectly true.

"The method employed I would gladly explain,
While I have it so clear in my head,
If I had but the time and you had but the brain—
But much yet remains to be said.

"In one moment I've seen what has hitherto been
Enveloped in absolute mystery,
And without extra charge I will give you at large
A Lesson in Natural History."

In his genial way he proceeded to say
(Forgetting all laws of propriety,
And that giving instruction, without introduction,
Would have caused quite a thrill in Society),

"As to temper the Jubjub's a desperate bird,
Since it lives in perpetual passion:
Its taste in costume is entirely absurd—
It is ages ahead of the fashion:

"But it knows any friend it has met once before:
It never will look at a bribe:
And in charity-meetings it stands at the door,
And collects—though it does not subscribe.

"Its flavor when cooked is more exquisite far
Than mutton, or oysters, or eggs:
(Some think it keeps best in an ivory jar,
And some, in mahogany kegs:)

"You boil it in sawdust: you salt it in glue:
You condense it with locusts and tape:
Still keeping one principal object in view—
To preserve its symmetrical shape."

The Butcher would gladly have talked till next day,
But he felt that the Lesson must end,
And he wept with delight in attempting to say
He considered the Beaver his friend.

While the Beaver confessed, with affectionate looks
More eloquent even than tears,
It had learned in ten minutes far more than all books
Would have taught it in seventy years.

They returned hand-in-hand, and the Bellman, unmanned
(For a moment) with noble emotion,
Said "This amply repays all the wearisome days
We have spent on the billowy ocean!"

Such friends, as the Beaver and Butcher became,
Have seldom if ever been known;
In winter or summer, 'twas always the same—
You could never meet either alone.

And when quarrels arose—as one frequently finds
Quarrels will, spite of every endeavour—
The song of the Jubjub recurred to their minds,
And cemented their friendship for ever!

Fit the Sixth.
THE BARRISTER'S DREAM.

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

But the Barrister, weary of proving in vain
That the Beaver's lace-making was wrong,
Fell asleep, and in dreams saw the creature quite plain
That his fancy had dwelt on so long.

He dreamed that he stood in a shadowy Court,
Where the Snark, with a glass in its eye,
Dressed in gown, bands, and wig, was defending a pig
On the charge of deserting its sty.

The Witnesses proved, without error or flaw,
That the sty was deserted when found:
And the Judge kept explaining the state of the law
In a soft under-current of sound.

The indictment had never been clearly expressed,
And it seemed that the Snark had begun,
And had spoken three hours, before any one guessed
What the pig was supposed to have done.

The Jury had each formed a different view
(Long before the indictment was read),
And they all spoke at once, so that none of them knew
One word that the others had said.

"You must know —" said the Judge: but the Snark exclaimed "Fudge!
That statute is obsolete quite!
Let me tell you, my friends, the whole question depends
On an ancient manorial right.

"In the matter of Treason the pig would appear
To have aided, but scarcely abetted:
While the charge of Insolvency fails, it is clear,
If you grant the plea 'never indebted.'

"The fact of Desertion I will not dispute;
But its guilt, as I trust, is removed
(So far as relates to the costs of this suit)
By the Alibi which has been proved.

"My poor client's fate now depends on your votes."
Here the speaker sat down in his place,
And directed the Judge to refer to his notes
And briefly to sum up the case.

But the Judge said he never had summed up before;
So the Snark undertook it instead,
And summed it so well that it came to far more
Than the Witnesses ever had said!

When the verdict was called for, the Jury declined,
As the word was so puzzling to spell;
But they ventured to hope that the Snark wouldn't mind
Undertaking that duty as well.

So the Snark found the verdict, although, as it owned,
It was spent with the toils of the day:
When it said the word "GUILTY!" the Jury all groaned,
And some of them fainted away.

Then the Snark pronounced sentence, the Judge being quite
Too nervous to utter a word:
When it rose to its feet, there was silence like night,
And the fall of a pin might be heard.

"Transportation for life" was the sentence it gave,
"And then to be fined forty pound."
The Jury all cheered, though the Judge said he feared
That the phrase was not legally sound.

But their wild exultation was suddenly checked
When the jailer informed them, with tears,
Such a sentence would have not the slightest effect,
As the pig had been dead for some years.

The Judge left the Court, looking deeply disgusted:
But the Snark, though a little aghast,
As the lawyer to whom the defense was entrusted,
Went bellowing on to the last.

Thus the Barrister dreamed, while the bellowing seemed
To grow every moment more clear:
Till he woke to the knell of a furious bell,
Which the Bellman rang close at his ear.

Fit the Seventh.
THE BANKER'S FATE.

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

And the Banker, inspired with a courage so new
It was matter for general remark,
Rushed madly ahead and was lost to their view
In his zeal to discover the Snark.

But while he was seeking with thimbles and care,
A Bandersnatch swiftly drew nigh
And grabbed at the Banker, who shrieked in despair,
For he knew it was useless to fly.

He offered large discount—he offered a check
(Drawn "to bearer") for seven-pounds-ten:
But the Bandersnatch merely extended its neck
And grabbed at the Banker again.

Without rest or pause—while those frumious jaws
Went savagely snapping around—
He skipped and he hopped, and he floundered and flopped,
Till fainting he fell to the ground.

The Bandersnatch fled as the others appeared
Led on by that fear-stricken yell:
And the Bellman remarked "It is just as I feared!"
And solemnly tolled on his bell.

He was black in the face, and they scarcely could trace
The least likeness to what he had been:
While so great was his fright that his waistcoat turned white—
A wonderful thing to be seen!

To the horror of all who were present that day.
He uprose in full evening dress,
And with senseless grimaces endeavored to say
What his tongue could no longer express.

Down he sank in a chair—ran his hands through his hair—
And chanted in mimsiest tones
Words whose utter inanity proved his insanity,
While he rattled a couple of bones.

"Leave him here to his fate—it is getting so late!"
The Bellman exclaimed in a fright.
"We have lost half the day. Any further delay,
And we sha'n't catch a Snark before night!"

Fit the Eighth.
THE VANISHING.

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

They shuddered to think that the chase might fail,
And the Beaver, excited at last,
Went bounding along on the tip of its tail,
For the daylight was nearly past.

"There is Thingumbob shouting!" the Bellman said,
"He is shouting like mad, only hark!
He is waving his hands, he is wagging his head,
He has certainly found a Snark!"

They gazed in delight, while the Butcher exclaimed
"He was always a desperate wag!"
They beheld him—their Baker—their hero unnamed—
On the top of a neighboring crag.

Erect and sublime, for one moment of time.
In the next, that wild figure they saw
(As if stung by a spasm) plunge into a chasm,
While they waited and listened in awe.

"It's a Snark!" was the sound that first came to their ears,
And seemed almost too good to be true.
Then followed a torrent of laughter and cheers:
Then the ominous words "It's a Boo—"

Then, silence. Some fancied they heard in the air
A weary and wandering sigh
That sounded like "—jum!" but the others declare
It was only a breeze that went by.

They hunted till darkness came on, but they found
Not a button, or feather, or mark,
By which they could tell that they stood on the ground
Where the Baker had met with the Snark.

In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away—
For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.

THE END.

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Through the eyes of a Field Coronet (Epic)

Introduction

In the kaki coloured tent in Umbilo he writes
his life’s story while women, children and babies are dying,
slowly but surely are obliterated, he see how his nation is suffering
while the events are notched into his mind.

Lying even heavier on him is the treason
of some other Afrikaners who for own gain
have delivered him, to imprisonment in this place of hatred
and thoughts go through him to write a book.


Prologue

The Afrikaner nation sprouted
from Dutchmen,
who fought decades without defeat
against the super power Spain

mixed with French Huguenots
who left their homes and belongings,
with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
Associate this then with the fact

that these people fought formidable
for seven generations
against every onslaught that they got
from savages en wild animals

becoming marksmen, riding
and taming wild horses
with one bullet per day
to hunt a wild antelope,

who migrated right across the country
over hills in mass protest
and then you have
the most formidable adversary
and then let them fight

in a natural wilderness
where the hunter,
the sniper and horseman excels
and any enemy is at a lost.

Let them then also be patriotic
into their souls,
believe in and read
out of the word of God
and then there is almost nothing
that these people do fear.


The Zuid Afrikaanse republic
existed out of twenty one districts,
each with a magistrate for civil ethics,
a commandant to deter the enemy,

in control of a commando as their leader
and so structures appeared
with a commandant-general for much greater authority,
for the whole country.

A field coronet was in control of a ward
to issue commands in it
and the citizens themselves chose their men
as they thought best

and all men from sixteen to sixty had to do service,
if the need be, be prepared for war.


A field coronet was a respected man
as the magistrate, justice of the peace and prosecutor
and a military leader of a ward who could
call up citizens for duty to a commando in a laager

and he was a political representative
of the government and in a district
citizens chose own officers
as they saw it fit.

Commandos arouse when the Boers
had to defend themselves against attacks
from black tribes
and they came together in numbers

to be able to give proper resistance
and to stop pillage, murder and sorrow.


I. Battles against rebel captains Mesotie, Sebboel, Mapit and Magoeba

On the farm of Daniel Page
all the citizens of the ward come together
and Jacobus Potgieter hurried there
and they crowd around the rifles and ammunition

that the government was providing
just a little distance from the cornfields
and Jacobus was like many without a weapon,
but ready to serve his country

and from many hunting expeditions
with his brother in law, Jacobus was very capable
with a rifle.
This was however the first time
that he had been called up for war
and at dusk he was on the porch

when the field coronet arrived with a letter
addressed to the four black captains
who were rebelling
and it happened on the same night
that the field coronet still awake and active

had to depart with sixteen citizens
to Agatha near the native village
of captain Mesotie
and they were totally unaware

that they were awaited,
where they fought bravely
hurrying to the little fortress,
firing to try and win the struggle.

At Agatha they were cornered,
had to make holes
through the walls
to shoot from the building
in their fierce task
to resist the attackers.

The government after this incident sends
a big commando to help,
but the Mesotie tribe
fires at them with canons
from up high and from below
and with rifles and spears
they assaulted the Boers.

The Boers answer their attack
with their own cannons,
shooting into the bushes
where a little war erupts,
and the commando as both horsemen
and foot soldiers
rush down to the village
opening fire and the village starts to burn.

Mesotie surrenders
after his tribe loses the battle,
being tired from the events of the past days.
All his tribe’s rifles,
spears and many other weapons
are destroyed
and the village is stripped
of grain before the fire destroys it.

General PJ Joubert manages to
get captain Sebboel in control
and captain Mapit’s tribe
is caught and are crestfallen.

Magoeba flees with his tribe
into the thick bush and his village
is burnt to the ground and stripped,
but the Magoeba tribe circles out
taking half of Houtbergbos
and the town was almost lost to them.

Six forts are constructed
to try and get the Magoeba tribe under control.
The enemy however
draws the citizens manning the forts
out of the forts
while they wait in ambush
and surround them.

The government again calls up
a large commando
and even tribesmen from Swaziland come to help.

Some of the Swazi warriors
behead Magoeba and nineteen others with a sword,
praising the ancestral spirits
and the Boer citizens

win the war against the rest of the Magoeba tribe
pinning them against the hill
and taking them prisoner
and come to the aid of the Swazi’s in times of trouble.


II. The Jameson raid of 1896

Jacobus Potgieter was busy
trading yellow-wood planks
for cattle and was far from his farm,
when he heard about the nonsense
due to Jameson and his little gang

and he hurried to render his services
while they were invading the Transvaal,
but when he did reach Pretoria
the shots had already been fired
and the enemy had been imprisoned.

General Cronje had decided
to lead Jameson’s band into a trap
that was set near Krugersdorp
and at Doornkop the little battle was fought
and some of the citizens,
as agents of the government,
took good quality rifles and canon.

After this incident President Kruger
had set a ultimatum to the foreigners
and a large commando went to collect the rifles
that they had smuggled into the country.

Judge Gregorowski gave the members
of the reform committee the death penalty
but President Paul Kruger had mercy
and changed the sentence
to fifteen years imprisonment
and once again he considered the requests
for leniency, by changing the sentences to a large fine.

Even Cecil John Rhodes was involved
with the invasion
and he lost his position as prime minister
of the Cape colony

but the British government had refused
to pay a single cent
of the claim of damages,
and the problems with the foreigners
had not been solved.


III. The Magatoe war of 1897

Back in 1867 the parents of Jacobus Potgieter,
all the inhabitants of Schoemansdal,
had to flee from the forces of Magatoe
and the farmers were anxious
of the raids of pillage and plunder
of the “Babbler”
and Jacobus himself saw
the destruction of Magatoe’s tribe

and how the town and church, had to be left
to the mercy of Magatoe
and how they had to flee
further back into the republic.

The situation became more serious
and in 1897 the government
called together a commando
of four thousand citizens to stop the plunder
of Magatoe’s tribe and before the attack,
a day of prayer was held
asking God to have mercy on His nation.

The commando was still far away
into the hills, the cliffs,
when firing started from the Magatoe tribe
while their view was still obstructed

and Jacobus was in the front lines of the battle
where he and other Boers, with accurate shots
drove the enemy back
as most of them were marksmen.

Suddenly a thick cloud of fog appeared
enveloping the whole enemy village,
giving the Boers time to build entrenchments
from behind which they could harass the enemy.

When the entrenchments were ready
the thick cloud of fog over Magatoe’s village
started to dissipate and to general Joubert it seemed fit,
as he gave orders
to dropp canon shells and bullets
like rain on that village.

In a half hour’s time they stormed
into the village
while firing at will.

Most of Magatoe’s warriors
fled to safety
and some was killed,
and one rose from a hole
to try and resist,

but Magatoe’s tribe, the Matabele (Ndebele)
then fled to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe)
and that formidable tribe
was taught a lesson
and after thirty years stopped harassing the Boers.


IV. Preview to the war with Britain

Jacobus had just been back at home
when in 1899 he had to leave it
and had to leave his family behind,
to get involved with the war against Britain.

He had been gone
on a two month long hunting expedition,
where he was hunting from the back of his horse
and so many animals were shot
that he filled an ox wagon,
but out of duty he had to go on commando
and had to leave his wife and children behind.

Along with his friends they hunted fifty animals.
The game consisted of giraffes, cape oryxes
and eland, many was shot at a time

and he first went back
to greet his family as he had to be on commando
by the eleventh of October
and he went on horseback without fear of the British.

After five hours on horseback from Houtbosberg
they got to the laager,
greeted other men there,
but had to leave again to the Soutpansberg hills

to meet with another commando coming from Spitskop
at the Crocodile River and was told,
that the government had declared war
on Great Britain and was ordered to go to war.

That evening one citizen was of the opinion
that the war would not last long,
as they were civilised men
and every one a marksmen

and he did hear that the British
was also a civilised people
and differences
could be sorted out, in a civilised manner
and he gave big value to that quality of them.

Somebody else thought
that it would take months long
and another person that for many evenings
they would have to gather around fires
and that the government has another plan
apart from war
to resist the British.


V. The start of the war

From a hillock
two Boer commandos storm from the back
into a British camp and start the battle
and a couple of British soldiers are shot,
a lot of them are captured, but its almost in vain
as most of them flee and get away.

The Boers follow them
in the direction of the Tuli River and at daybreak
some of the enemy combine forces
with comrades at a ox wagon
and the Boers shoot accurately
to try and stop them
and the British break from cover

and the enemy flee
to find shelter in a house
that is empty
and try to resist from the cover of it.

The house is shot to pieces
and for the third time on one day
the British again flee from that aria
against the superior numbers of Boers

and the next day
the Boers capture nine wagons, left behind
with ammunition and food.

The next day Boer scouts
find a large abandoned British camp
with tents, horses and mules where they stop
and while Jacobus tries to rid his feet from cramps,
he notices a large cloud of dust
that is coming in their direction,
that he interprets as enemy.

Theres a field coronet
that stands his man,
to resist the enemy
while two Boer commandos flee past him.

At dusk Jacobus Potgieter finds more men
with a canon on a hillock
and with just more than twenty Boer citizens
he is worried,
but prepares for and waits the enemy.

The more the night darkens,
the nearer the cloud of dust comes
and the Boers are ready to resist the enemy,
to let no Englishman pass them
and theres a rumbling sound
and something is wrong

as no enemy appears
and they are taken by surprise
in the moonlight
without a shot being fired,
by a huge swarm of grasshoppers
of which the whole veldt is covered
where they swarm like ants.

Jacobus was really disillusioned and angry
about the cowardliness of officers,
of which some
do not return to the commando
and to him this is nearly treason
and to him they are worse than animals.

Sometimes some of the Boers
just asked permission
not to participate in the battle
(of which the general just had to bare knowledge)
and in that way the Boer forces decreased
and the permission could not be denied
and then the men went home, went away.

Generals could only react
against men deserting without permission
and some left the others
and was sometimes nearby

sometimes seen near to battlefields,
as spectators watching
how the battle develops
and some of these later worked for the enemy.


VI. The siege of Kimberley

The Soutpansberg commando got instructions
to go to the Modder Rivier,
to stop the enemy
who were marching along the railway track.

The commando was divided in two
and Jacobus Potgieter was ordered
to ride along with field coronet Alberts by train
to Modder River near to Magersfontein

and the other field coronets and the commandant
went to Colenso to help put it to siege
and to surround that town.

At the Modder River they met general Cronje
and seven thousand other citizens
and greeted each other.

Just a little later commandant-general De la Rey
and the Transvaal citizens were added to strengthen
the citizens from the Orange Free State
and quickly they got to work.

The Boers wanted to stop the British march,
before the enemy could cross the river
and tried to beat them with trenches and ramparts
and by this method break their attack.

The river was a natural strong point
for their defence
with sheltering that the enemy
would not be able to see
and trenches were placed near to the steep banks

The train bridge was blasted away
and three places was left to cross the river
from where they would stop the enemy.

General De la Rey thought that the main column
would come along the railway
to cross the river near to the bridge
and wanted to break this superior numbered force.

Just Bosmansdift and Rosmeadsdrift
were the other places where the river would suit the British,
considering the depth of the river and exposure
to fire that the Boers could manage.

The southern banks of the river
was taken by the Soutpansberg citizens to cover it,
with the men of general Cronje
as part of his plans

that covered the aria between Bosmansdrift
and the intersection of the Modder
and Riet Rivers and the men were enthusiastic
to try and shoot accurately.

General De la Rey with about eight hundred
Transvaal citizens was waiting on the right
near toe the rail crossing.

In the long grass and sand on the left
between the Riet River
and the Modder River some more citizens
were positioned to cover Bosmansdrift
if the enemy want to cross it.

General Prinsloo with a few thousand
Orange Free State citizens were
to the west of general de La Rey’s men
lying from the bridge up to Rosmeadsdrift
between rocky ledges.

In the shelter of the riverbank
behind the men the horses were kept
with them neighing every now and then
and on the northern side
of the Riet River a few canon
was placed behind the men.

Most of the canons were set up
next to the railway track
to cover the aria in front of general de La Rey
and to hit the main oncoming column.

A prayer before the battle was:
“Dear Father, here we are together
before the big battle
coming tomorrow, to pray
to you. We are scared,
thats why we are here,
praying like we are now doing.
Over there are the British
also Christians like us. Maybe they
are also praying
just as we are doing. For this reason
I want to ask you
please do not take the part
of either one
and if it is your will,
stay out of it,
then tomorrow you will see something! ”

It was shouted: “Here they come! ”
When the canon behind them started shooting
the citizens started firing on the oncoming enemy
and the enemy took cover in an open aria

and the whole day long
they had to stay there on the ground
as they got shots
from Boers sheltered in trenches.

Every time during that day
that the enemy tried to storm forward
the Boers were taking marksmen shots
with their Mausers
and pinned them down, hour after hour
until the dark night.

For ten hours long
the enemy was lying there and nobody
was able to move
and every one that tried to get up
was shot down with Mauser fire
coming from positions that they were not aware of.

After the first rifle fire
the British answered with canon fire
whereupon with big success
the Boers answered with their long-tom canons
and the machinegun of the enemy
was destroyed by the Boers artillery
at the beginning of the battle
and the British were halted for hours long.

A British column moved past from the left
and swept general Prinsloo’s men back.
Under orders of commandant general de La Rey,
the Lichtenburg commando went to free them.

Following this the British was shot back
from Rosmeadsdrift, but a small number
of the British got past Bosmansdrift,
from where in the heat of the battle
they were also shot back
and the battle lasted into the dark night.

After sunset general De la Rey ordered
his men to fall back to Jacobsdal
and the citizens were happy with this decision.

The Free State citizens went to
their set positions at Spytfontein
and Scholsnek about twelve miles from Kimberley
to disappear into their trenches there.

General Cronje got about 7000 citizens
back from Mafakeng
to come and help at the Modder River
and Lord Methuen waited on reinforcements
to be able to stop the Boers.

Then the Boers went to work
to dig trenches at the feet
of the Magersfontein hillocks,
to strengthen their positions
and then they took cover in the trenches.

From the Merthon train stop for about three miles east,
at the foot of the Magersfontein hillocks
the main force of about 3500 citizens was set
in trenches up unto a low hill.

Next to the trenches, well camouflaged
small forts were built
from where the Boers could fire
at any place on the battlefield.

Jacobus Potgieter was placed with 600 men
in a position right against the railway track,
where general Cronje thought
that the British would try and break through.

About 1500 citizens were placed on the right wing,
north of the Modder River station
under command of general Andries Cronje,
but the left wing with 2500 citizens, east of Magersfontein
was without trenches and without a defence line.

To mislead the enemy
a few forts were build on the hillocks
with eleven canon set on the hillocks
and the trenches was hidden
by the camouflage of branches and grass.

When the British on 10 December 1899 started firing
with canon fire from Scholsnek
and were covering the aria with bombs,
it was the first time
that Jacobus Potgieter resisted them
under direct canon fire
and brave men with rifles fired back at the British.

General Piet Cronje called the citizens together
while looking at them earnestly:

“Citizens, the enemy is ready to move against us.
We have to remember one thing.
To fall back the lives of others
are placed in the balance,
and 20 to 30 lives are lost.
When the enemy move out against us, I will
set up a flying commando en lead it to them.”

General Cronje ordered them to wait
until the enemy moves and then to storm forward
for about five hundred paces
and then to take deadly shots

and not to look if anyone is being hit,
just to be aware of the enemy
and to read their movements.

General Cronje’s words were:
“This is the place where we have to beat the enemy! ”
Just at about midnight the British
started their march to Magersfontein
with general-major AG Wauchope leading in the front.

It was very cold and pitch dark
with rain pouring down
and they reached the hillocks
while thunderbolts were dropping down,
totally unaware of the trenches
onto which they were marching.

The enemy came in on an unexpected wing
and the citizens then killed a large number
of British soldiers in the dusk
and shot after shot was taken
and in the front Wauchope received
seven shots simultaneously
and the enemy was confused
while the Boers were mowing them down.

Some turned about to run back
and were falling over the ones behind them
causing still greater chaos
and it was still dark when the canons
were already getting involved.

The Boers were surrounded while the enemy
tried to break through,
to try and win Kimberley back,
but their attacks were stopped
at a great cost to the British,
who time and again
stormed into the Boer fire.

Then the enemy turned right to try and demolish
general Cronje’s left wing, to kill the Boers there,
but were shot down by the resisting Boers.

The whole day long the bombardment
of the British canons were falling
and at about twelve o’clock
general Cronje gave orders
to Jacobus Potgieter’s commando
to move running onto the left wing.

They stormed onto the enemy
and their attack was so effective
that the enemy turned around fleeing
and the Boers took the initiative
driving a great number of the British back.

With the British defeat
Jacobus could not establish
the number of enemy dead
as some were already taken away during the battle.

When Jacobus Potgieter walked on the battlefield
three days after the battle
there were bloody British flags
and some wounded moaning men totally without hope

and by then the dead had been driven away for days
and there were still hundreds that he found there
and after five days the enemy were still digging graves
and were still busy with funeral services.

Commando after commando
went home after that battle
and left the rest of the Boers there.

Cecil John Rhodes
were at the point of handing Kimberley over,
of letting the Boers into the town,
when Methuen attacked with 40000
soldiers as a flashpoint.

With a battle lasting three days long
the British broke through at Paardeberg,
firing hour after hour at the Boers
but the Boers broke this attack.

Then the huge British force tried to break through
the forces of the Orange Free State,
but were waited upon
by the men of commandant Jacobs.

Then they send a column past the backside
and they faced general Christian de Wet
and his men shot them out off their territory.

When the Boers had halted
the whole of the British force,
the British got some more reinforcements
to try again to break through on the eastern side
in such a great force
that the Boers could not stop them.

Jacobus Potgieter was at Scholsnek
with the Soutpansberg commando
for almost three months
under unstopped canon bombardment
and after the breakthrough
general Cronje gave orders to draw back.

“Leave your trenches and fight a way through to the laager.”
The next day the Boers were gone.

During the night Jacobus Potgieter
fled with the laager
and there were a lot of wagons
that had to go back.
Over farms and in the veldt,
women and children were joining them
and Jacobus caught a wild horse
and tamed it in that night
as if it was destined for him.

The wagons kept general Cronje’s commando back
causing the British to catch up with them
and they began shelling
from one of the woman’s farm
in a huge bombardment.

At eight o’clock that night
the Boers again moved out
and the superfluous things were thrown away
as many horses and oxen had been killed
by the bombardment and the distress was huge

and then general Christian de Wet
almost fought right through the British
to come and free general Cronje’s men.

Until eight o’clock that morning
the Boers were fleeing
as the enemy was formidable
and field coronets Jacobus Potgieter
and H Schnell were ordered
to go and find some horses
but to try and avoid the enemy.

The walking Boers were tired
without a proper opportunity
to get away from the British
and the remaining oxen
were thin and tired from the pulling

at the continuous fast pace
and from a shortage of grass
and they did not know
to eat the lye-bushes.

Jacobus Potgieter caught up
with general Cronje.
General Cronje was at the front side of the laager
and strong like steel,
checking the canon and was very worried
and then the commando again
came under British canon bombardment.

In the bushes Jacobus heard horses
and were chasing them
catching them and waged his life in the dark
before Jacobus took the horses into a bush
and decided not to go back in the dark
as it was too dangerous.

The next morning Jacobus tried
to go back to the laager
and came across other citizens
that had fled from the laager
and they told him
to turn back as the commando
was surrounded and the whole time
under enemy rifle and canon fire.

Jacobus Potgieter did not listen to them
and another group of citizens
that he crossed paths with
told him the same thing
and he was annoyed:

“If we turn around and leave our brothers
in their position of distress,
it can cost their lives
and we do not deserve anything better than death.
Come on brothers, bring your rifles! ”

Then on his own Jacobus Potgieter rode
still nearer to the laager
and he was in a hurry, not saving the horses
and he met commandant P Schutte
who asked him very worried:
“Where do you think,
you are going with those horses? ”

He explained that he was taking them
through to the laager
and commandant P Schutte was totally amazed
and said to him:

“Brother, before God nothing is impossible,
but those citizens in that laager
will never again come out of it.
The enemy has more than enough to take there.
Do not take more booty to them.
If you go to that laager with these horses
they will catch you and all of these horses.
Rather turn back and go to Brandfort and wait
for my report about the outcome.”

He listened to the advice of the commandant
and later he came to know that the enemy
had put 150 canons and 75000 soldiers
with continuous bombardment
against 4000 citizens and their 6 canons.

At long last general Cronje had to surrender
against the overpowering numbers
that day and night
came nearer to them
and without mercy the citizens
that were captured were sent
to St. Helena Island for imprisonment.

Of the fourteen field coronets ten was killed
and only Jacobus Potgieter and H Schnell did escape
while shots were fired at them
and a while later the British
marched into Bloemfontein
with the Boers
not really being able to stop them.


VII. The invasion of Natal

After the defeat at Paardeberg
Jacobus Potgieter was sent home
to rest for a month
and the trip took days
but it wasn’t really dangerous
and he took the horses along
as did not want to leave them with anyone.

Jacobus returned to the war
and had to go to Burgersberg in Natal
where he was very unhappy
with the leadership
of the commanding officers
and the fact that they did not take action
against deserters

as general Piet Cronje and his men
were known for careful plans
and their bravery
and Jacobus was responsible
to give supplies like food, clothes
and ammunition to his comrades.

With the outbreak of the war
the citizens of general Joubert
went to Newcastle and Dundee
to conquer the coal fields.

The 4500 citizens of general Lucas Meyer
were on their way to the Talana hillocks,
to take the enemy on,
with general Erasmus leading his 5000 citizens
to the Mpate kopjes
and general de Kock’s 750 men went
to cut the railway connection at Elandslaagte.

Without great adversary Newcastle
on 16 October fell to the Boers
and on 20 October 1899
Dundee was bombarded
from the hillocks with shots
falling into the enemy camp

where big chaos broke out
among the 3800 soldiers
where the British general Penn-Symons
got them under control
and began with a counter attack
and then the British
were held behind a wall.

To inspire his troops
Penn-Symons ran through
the opening in the wall
where he got several fatal shots.

The British infantry
then stormed the hillock
and came under fire
from the Boers at the top
and their own artillery
that killed some of them.

After the Boers were driven away
from the hillock
they pursued the fleeing Boers
but the whole British horse battalion was unaware
of the men of general Erasmus
and all of them were captured
and their horses were taken from them.

On 19 October general de Kock’s men
assaulted the British trains
where they draw the few British soldiers into a fight
and started to unload the wagons.

An angry general White
rushed his 3500 soldiers to Elandslaagte
where they started to shell the Boers
catching the Boers of balance.

At Dundee brigadier general Yule took command
and under instructions from general White
the British were fleeing back to Ladysmith.

Another 9000 Boers
under chief commandant Prinsloo
were shelled,
but saw the British soldiers storming
over a open piece of veldt
from where they shot them back
with rifle fire, driving them right into Ladysmith.

When general Meyer resigned
field coronet Louis Botha got his position
and it did not take long
for him to proof his bravery
and to rise as a great leader.

In the hillocks at Ladysmith White’s soldiers
were waiting on the Boers
but started their bombardment
on a hillock without any Boer on it

and then the canons of the Boers fired back,
out shooting those of the British
and while the Boers long-tom canons
brought destruction
general Joubert attacked the British form all sides
where in humiliation White had lost
954 soldiers as prisoners of war.

From the surrounding hillocks
Ladysmith was bombarded by canon
where 12500 soldiers
and 7800 citizens were housed
with bombs coming down on them
and they were left with food
for two months and feed for only one month.

On 9 November the Boers attacked the town
with their commandos but could not take it
and the counter attack
of George White was resisted,
but then it happened

that the liberation column
of Buller started its march
trying to penetrate the Boer commandos,
but the Boers were waiting for them
on the other side of the Tugela River
and the British army
was unable to find the drift
to try and pass through the river
and were defeated in chaos

and 143 were killed,755 wounded
and 240 were taken prisoner of war
which had an impact on the career of Buller
and he was fired as supreme commander
and become only the commander
for the invasion through Natal
with Lord Roberts replacing him.

Although Buller then had 30000 soldiers,
his soldiers were thrashed
at Spioenkop and Vaalkrans
but with his great superior number of men,
eventually Buller liberated Ladysmith and Colenso
and Jacobus Potgieter
had been two months in Natal
when Buller’s big army attacked them.

With the death of general Joubert, from illness,
general Louis Botha
was appointed in his place
who ordered the Boer forces to pull back
to the border with the Transvaal
where trenches were prepared
to try and stop the enemy.

The British numbers were far too big
and a lot of Boers were killed
and the Boers could not stop the big force,
with which the British went through them
and later the Orange Free State and Transvaal
republics both
came under annexation from Great Britain.


VIII. The changing face of the war

After the defeat on the border of the Transvaal
the Boers gathered on 17 March at Kroonstad
and all their military and political leaders were there
and general Christiaan de Wet accepted leadership,
as commandant-general of the Orange Free State
and they talked and planned together.

Commandant-general de Wet’s plan
was to keep his men highly mobile,
to take the war to the rear guard of the enemy,
to settle the fight
from their horses with their rifles.
They would find food
and ammunition on the farms
and would constantly change
their position and ride on.

It was fruitless to fight
against overpowering numbers
in the front lines,
where the British were only waiting
to decimate the Boers and conditions
were worsened for the Boers
and to hit the enemy
where they expect it the least,
could do great damage to them
and had the possibility
to win the two countries back again.

But first the citizens had to go home
to rest for a month
and general de Wet was well aware,
that he was going to loose some soldiers,
but only the brave
and the most determined
would then come back to him.

The plan was then accepted
by commandant-general De la Rey
and both presidents Kruger and Steyn
for the Boers to ride out in raids
and not to spare any rear defence.

The whole matter
was a big embarrassment to the British.
The Boer patriots
attacked with surprise and again disappeared
before a big British force could react
and de Wet did become a big head ache to them
and they could not stop, the attacks from the Boers
or their guerrilla warfare tactics.

To cut the Boers supply lines
Kitchener decided
to let his army ride through the farms,
to drive out the women and children
and to put them in concentration camps

with armed soldiers closing down on farms
burning down farms, houses and even towns,
claiming the Boers possessions or selling it
and by force removing women and children.
He also armed the black tribesmen
to attack the farms,
to expel women and children with firearms,
to kill them and to rape
at night and during the day.

Some people believe that Kitchener carefully
chose numerous places
that was hideous,
where people was held in perilous conditions

but it remains a fact
that he did not spend a lot of time
on the planning
and choosing of the camps,
without any feelings for being humane,
or the considering of sicknesses and disasters.

There were fifty concentration camps
that are now being seen as places
of human suffering and sorrow
where about 110000 women
and children were held captured
and where more than 20000 starved
from the pests prevailing
through sickness of almost any kind,
glass that was grinded into the meal,
and glass and fishing hooks
in the salt meat and so on,
as if the British did not
possess humanity at all.

Some of the camps were in marches
or at wet muddy places
at cold windy places,
constructed next to rivers
without hygienic conditions to disrupt lives
and some women had to bath
and wash in pools after rain.

Sometimes people in these camps
had to stay in the open for lengths of time
exposed to sun, rain, hail and wind,
as if it was being planned to kill them
and sometimes they had to beg for clothes.

Food rations was inadequate
and some people starved
from lack of food,
meat from sick animals
were unhygienic cut into pieces.

Only one doctor was appointed
for every camp
with numbers of more than four thousand people,
mostly without hospital facilities
with a lot of complaints
that the medicine was poisoned
and medical treatment was not given to everybody.


IX. The war in the Soutpansberg

General Beyers was sent by the government
as leader to both the Soutpansberg
and Waterberg commandos,
to try and win the war against the British
and it was clear that he knew the art
of using the environment
as camouflage while attacking the British.

When Jacobus Potgieter arrived
in the Northern Transvaal
they had to avoid Pretoria
to get to Warmbaths,
as Pretoria had fallen to the enemy
and for two months
they were harassing the British
and when Paget had withdrawn to Pienaars River,
the Waterberg district was the frontline,
but there were many traitors among the Boers

who daily went to the British,
some were tired of fighting
against the British
and others later came back
on instruction of the British,
to try and convince
some more to surrender.

Jacobus was again chosen
as field coronet of Houtbergbos
and had to go there with immediate effect,
to appose the British.

With a overwhelming big force
Paget went to Pietersburg
that fell to the British on 29 March 1901,
where the British plundered
whatever they could
and they were placing women and children
into concentration camps
and took cattle to Pretoria as a source of food.
They were burning down houses,
destroyed farms,
were even casting salt onto the fields.

The British possession of Pietersburg
drove the Boers into the mountains
with the British in control
of the whole Northern Transvaal,
with Colenbrander and Plummer
driving the war there,
trying to destroy the Boer commando
of general Beyers.

Plummer made his invasion
along the Olifant River
and in that unknown aria
befriended the blacks,
giving firearms to them
to attack the women on farms
and with all the Boer traitors
that were acting for the British,
Jacobus Potgieter resigned as field coronet.

When the British at Heanertsburg
started fighting with the Boers,
the Boers saw a cloud
of dust coming along,
that was rising from the direction of Houtbosberg
and Jacobus Potgieter and W van Heerden
went out during the night
to scout on the enemy.

Just where they had seen the cloud of dust,
they arrived during the night at a black village
and sneaked up to the wall of the village
and called a black man over
to get some information from him
while trying to avoid the enemy.

The man told them lies
that only two wagons
belonging to the Boers had passed
and about the direction that the wagons
had gone he kept on being deceitful.

From the tracks Jacobus could see
that it was six wagons of the British,
and probably on the way to their camp,
but unfortunately
he did not give the black man
any further attention
whose village had been instructed
by the British to attack the women
and children on the farms,
to rob and pillage with firearms.

Back at the commando a spy
told them about a British unit approaching
from another direction
and they had to go out scouting
to see what the British was up to,
but could find no signs of their presence
while they were riding along the whole day long.

At the place where the commando had been
a letter had been left:
“Come in the direction of Haenertsburg.”
Jacobus and field coronet Marais then decided
to get more information
and hurried to the farm
of Jacobus that was nearby.

On the farm Jacobus’s wife Margritha
ran crying up to them and said:

“Where were you the whole day?
The whole territory
has been taken by the British.

The canons were firing the whole day long
and the blacks have stolen all the cattle.
All the people have left! They said that they
would stay at a certain mountain
and we have to meet them there.
The enemy has gone into the mountains
with thousands of blacks
going along with them.”

It was already dark
and they went to the nearest neighbour
to try and get more information.

They greeted him: “How are things here? ”

The neighbour answered:
The enemy went into the hills
shortly after the two of you had left.
The commando
went in the direction of Wolkberg.
The long-tom canon
had fired 16 shots. The enemy
was almost at the canon
when the 17th shot was fired. The canon crew
blew the canon into pieces with dynamite.
The blacks took all the cattle and sheep
and all of the clothes and blankets
of the women and children.
Also every thing in the house,
including all the food. Chickens and pigs
have been killed. The women
were pushed about by the blacks.”

From there they went to the houses
of other citizens to find some more answers
until two o’clock at night whereupon Marais said:
“Let us go to Wolkberg.”

Jacobus answered: “The blacks
are pillaging the women and children
and who knows if the are going to kill them as well.
I will stay here to look for some more citizens,
if your want to go to Wolkberg.”

Marais went to Wolkberg where he was
captured by the enemy,
Jacobus found nobody else
while he was riding to his farm
and he had to hide his horse
to be able to escape with it.

Then he sneaked around the house
to see if his family was safe
and all of them were well
and he was aware of the Lord’s mercy.

The next morning Jacobus
found two more citizens
and heard from them
about the pillaging done by the blacks,
that had happened to other families

and the blacks did not even
leave a blanket for the children,
or anything to eat
and the people
would not be able to forget these evil events

that for Jacobus spoke
of barbarism and the frailty of man
and in his heart he wished disaster on the British.

Jacobus Potgieter, JM Dames and L Alberts together
made plans to protect their families.
They decided that each man
would stay at his own house
as long as he could
and would fire on anyone coming near
until death to rescue their families.

When the blacks came with rifles
to pillage these citizens,
the Boers opened fire on them,
to stop the attacks

where they were around the houses,
like vultures waiting for the death
of the farmers.

But with shot upon shot
they were warded off,
where these farmers were on guard
sitting and praying
for God to stop the enemy.

They saw the British Calvary riding past
and had decided to wait on the enemy,
in order for the women to ask their protection,
but after three days and nights they were far too tired.

They then did decide to surrender, as they could not anymore
carry on with the blacks that were serving the enemy
and Jacobus Potgieter and L Alberts went to the enemy,
while J Dames stayed behind to guard their families.

Jacobus had decided to trust in God,
in faith to hold on to the salvation of the Lord
and with a heavy heart he went to surrender,
to try and protect his family with this deed.

The enemy was scared when they saw Jacobus
as they were people from
the Cape colony without arms,
that was part of the British force
and acted as drivers for wagons and mules.

They were in the riverbed,
at the long-tom canon
that had been shot into pieces
and were trying to get a piece
of the canon out of the water.

They greeted the drivers
and went to meet the British
at Najensbrook, about a hour from home,
where an officer
were giving orders in Afrikaans.

Jacobus asked: “What is going on?
I expect to meet Englishmen here.
Now I meet Boers as enemies? ”

One answers him: “What do you think?
We are many more than you.
Our commando is about 1200 strong
and we are mostly Boers
who are helping the British.”

Then Jacobus asks confused: “How can it be,
that you are fighting against your own nation? ”

“We are British subjects from
the Cape colony and Natal.”
Then Jacobus asks: “Where is your general?
I want to see him.”

Then the officer gave orders to a driver:
“Take this man to the general,
the main commander of the laager.”

The laager where they were going
was far from there and Jacobus and Alberts
still were carrying their rifles
and met the officer being angry about the events
of the day before and laid their weapons down
and asked the British officer:

“Why does it look as if you
are fighting with black people against us,
how do you let black people
pillage our homes and families? ”

Then the officer bursts loose:
“Why did you not surrender
before I had to come here?
You let me come here for no reason! ”

Whereupon Jacobus said: “It isn’t fair
to fight with the blacks against the whites.
Still more so, to let them attack our women! ”

The officer answered unruly:
I have instructed the black people
not to do such things,
but they do not want to listen.”

Whereupon Jacobus answers him:
I do not believe it! ”

The officer then told them
to go and wait on a certain farm for a day or so.
Whereupon Jacobus was still more angry:
No! I do not have time to sit around.
Give orders to the blacks
to stop pillaging our families.”

The officer ordered Jacobus to wait
on his commander who had to come
and Jacobus harassed that commander
with the accusation

about the blacks pillaging
women and children
at which the officer granted his request

but at that time most of the farms
had already been pillaged,
and the women and kids were endangered
and treated very badly by the blacks.

Then the officer said: “I will let you go back.
Bring your families here.”
Whereupon Jacobus shook his head and replied:
The blacks have robbed all the oxen and wagons.
How am I to do it? ”

The colonel then gave the blacks instructions
to give the oxen and wagons back
but they did not really care about his commands,
whereupon Jacobus went back to his family
where they were safe but full of sorrow.

The blacks had only returned six oxen
and no wagons
and at the house of L Alberts
there were some more problems,
with one hundred and three people
that had fled there
without clothes, food and blankets
and they were women and children
who had been molested
and pillaged by the blacks.

Jacobus was astonished
as some of these women
had walked 24 miles
and had carried
their small children on their backs.

A woman said: “The blacks pushed me around
against the ground.”

Another one: “The blacks stabbed me with a
Assegai (spear) in the breast.”

A third one said: “They were hitting me
with rifles against the chest.”

Another lady said: “I tried to keep a blanket
for my child,
but the black man grabbed it
and knocked me from my feet
whit a rifle.”

Some of the blacks
that were loyal workers and maids
did take some things to look after,
when they saw the band of robbers arriving
and stormed with these things into the bushes

and brought the possessions back later
and this humanity goes deep
into a person’s heart,
but it was single items
that they were able to take
to rescue,
like a blanket or sometimes a bed.

Some of the blacks acted shamefully,
raping some of those women
and it was what was reported
to Jacobus Johannes Potgieter,
and it is reported here truthfully
and of these things
Jacobus was also a witness

and the enemy had no idea
how he felt about these things
and to protect his family
he went to hand his rifle in.

There were 103 women and children
that Jacobus Potgieter and L Alberts
had to transport with three wagons,
but a lot had to walk
and this trip was dreadful.

That first night
some of the women went to sleep
at Jacobus’s house
as he still had some food,
that he shared with them
and his wife was looking
for sheets and blankets
to try and make beds on the ground.

Some women slept inside on the floor,
but others had to sleep outside
and it was really terrible,
to see vulnerable women lying around.

Jacobus went along with the wagons
up to the main road
and took leave of his wife and companions
and rode out to meet the enemy

and the colonel leading them
where he said to the colonel:
The women and children,
103 of them in total are waiting on you.”

From the stories that the women
and children had heard
they were really scared of the British.

Jacobus was riding with the enemy
to lead them to the women and children
and he said to the colonel:
I will go to the families and tell them
that you are coming,
that they do not have to fear.”

The colonel and some of his captains
came along to Kuiperkuil
where some of the women
and children were crying

out of fear for the enemy,
being scared to get hurt
and stayed in a group together.

The British loaded these people
on some more wagons
and turned with them in the road

taking them to Pietersburg
where they lived
in houses for a month long
and then just before dark one late afternoon,
was taken to the concentration camp
as sentenced people.

Some of the food that they got to eat,
(this is the honest truth)
was meat from cattle and sheep
that was contaminated with diseases
and these illnesses
were carried over to these people.

Some of the sick animals
were daily slaughtered there in front of the people
and the meat given to them to eat,
while the British knew about the illnesses
that the animals did possess.

Some of the rations were flour,
coffee and sugar and were given
sparingly to the people.
Some of the cattle had fire-illness,
some with lung-disease
and they got that food to eat
as if the British
had forgotten about these illnesses.

Some of the sheep had measles,
others were infected with heart-water
and this meat was given to the people to eat
as if there was no law in the country

while the British knew about these illnesses
and without food
these people would also have perished
and in this way the British
earned more hatred and caused a lot of sorrow.

Jacobus was digging graves for the dead,
sometimes as many as seventeen per day,
where they loaded as many
as twelve bodies at a time
on a wagon to bury them.

After a time the people refused to eat the meat
as they knew that it made them ill
and were caused their deaths
and they gained the trust of the English doctor

and he did examine the meat and did confirm
that it was terribly infected,
almost like a kind of acknowledgement
whereupon the sheep
were slaughtered and buried.

They then received tinned meat
with grain and sometimes fine pieces of glass
and fishhooks in them
that also droops
the British with inhumanity.

Jacobus took the names
and length and width
of every dead body
and wrote it in his diary
and in a way half estranged,
he took the bodies
after the funeral service to the graves
and covered them with sand.

In that concentration camp Jacobus dug
between sixteen,
maybe seventeen graves on a day
and he was mourning while he witnessed
the death of so many people,
but the mule wagon could only take
ten to twelve coffins at a time
depending on the sizes of the coffins.

The crying and sorrow of this experience
stayed with him and his youngest child
Margritha Jacoba was only five months old
when they went into the concentration camp
being aware of people dying.

In every tent where he looked into,
Jacobus saw sick people infected
with illnesses
that they got from the sick meat.

After only two weeks
in the concentration camp
all of his children became ill.
Many things was terribly wrong
in that concentration camp.
All the people with measles died form it,
even adults who were kept in that camp.

Jacobus felt totally defenceless,
knew that the intentions
of the British was wrong
and the only thing
that he and his wife Margritha could do
was to reconcile them with the will of God
and three times a day they were praying
putting the protection of their children
before the throne of God.


X. Jacobus Potgieter escapes

For a long period of time
Jacobus did not receive any news
from the commando,
but at the insistence of the British
a traitor’s wife was sent to the Boers,
to try and convince them to surrender
and she brought news
about the commando’s whereabouts.

Immediately Jacobus
started to make plans to escape,
to walk away from the British,
to join the commando once more
and to get the enemy out of his country.

Mostly the lower class Boers joined the British
to kill Afrikaners for 5 shilling a day,
trying to force the Boers to loose the war.
The British even tried
to convince Jacobus to join them,
but he saw it as an evil plan
and was angry about it,
as he was forced unfairly
to surrender, to protect his family

With the passing time Jacobus made friends
with other men
and they were also involved in his escape plan,
at a time where the British were on the look out
for rebellion among the prisoners
Jacobus got thirty citizens
to lead them to freedom.

After many months Jacobus
and his friends got an opportunity
to ride along with the wagons
that was going out of the camp to collect firewood,
but the evening before the escape,
many of his friends became too scared to escape
and most of them decided to stay,
but only seven men
went through with the decision to escape.

They had a careful plan
and took food for four days
and two pairs of clothes along,
that was strong enough to last a year
while they trusted in God to lead them.

Unsure Jacobus greeted his wife and children
and scared that the British could have a suspicion of trouble
they left the crying children in the tent
while he greeted them.

Jacobus was well aware
about the dangers of this concentration camp
how the food, the bad circumstances
impacted on his children,
and asked God to look after them
and to guide the way back to the commando
through the coming dangers.

The seven men were somewhat sultry
when they got onto the wagons,
but in the wood fields they were industrious,
working hard
while the other men and blacks
were turning around them.

The escaping men were:
Jacobus Johannes Potgieter,
AJ van Jaarsveld, CJ Potgieter
(the brother of Jacobus) , SJ de Beer,
JH Venter, C Harmse and W van der Gijft,
who trusted their lives into the hands of God.

At twilight that night
they told the driver of their wagon
that they were going to escape,
were going to walk back to their commando,
but did not tell their plans to him
and they had difficulty in convincing him
to take the wagon back to the British

and from the blacks of the nearest rural village
they traded a blanket for a goat
and made a big fire to fry the meat,
while the other citizens
were still standing around them
and they ate as much as they could,
before they went to hide in the bushes

and the blacks were not aggressive
as long as they were with the British,
but became very hostile
the moment that they were not with the British.

With their clothes and a blanket each,
they left that camp in the wood fields
and without talking,
sneaked in the dark past the blacks
hiding in the bushes.

While working during the day they scouted the aria,
finding a route
and slipped away without being noticed.

There was a farm near to them
where they could find hidden rifles and ammunition,
that was buried there and Jacobus during the day
had cut a piece of wood to use as a digging tool,
but they first had to pass a large black village.

They kept to the bushes, trusting in God’s help
but when after an hour they arrived on the farm,
a light was burning in the house on the farm

and they were astonished to find people there
and thought that some of the men
who decided not to come along,
had betrayed them to the British
as the owner of the farm
had been captured by the British.

Sagrys de Beer said: “Let’s leave the rifles.
We are going to get captured here.
The voices that we hear are the voices of Boers,
but far too many Boers have joined the British
to fight against us.
We cannot trust anybody, or that they
will be on our side.”

Fifteen paces from the house
they then discussed the matter,
about either getting the rifles
or leaving the weapons and moving on.

Jacobus who really want the rifles
at first did not want to listen to advice and said:

“Grys, we cannot leave the rifles here,
we have to move over the wall silently
and go and dig the rifles out.”

“You will have us caught! Listen to the voices.
They are enemy Boers! ”

“Grys, just think about the black towns
that we will have to pass.”

“Kotie let us rather walk away while it is still dark.
Let us leave the rifles. Even if we go
over the wall unnoticed,
they will hear us when we start digging
with that piece of wood in your hand.
They will shoot us. If one of us are wounded
we will be very sorry that we did not leave
the guns here.
Kotie, let’s go. My maid
has hidden two of my rifles and ammunition
I will go to my farm.
My maid is trustworthy.”

“Grys, I will do as you say. Come, let us go.”

Thick fog were rising and they were lost,
Could not find the road and wandered along
until they found the road again
and then decided to stay near to it,
but the packs that they were carrying
were becoming heavy
and they were becoming tired.

Sagrys said: “Kotie, we have to sleep here.
Old Albert and Krisjan cannot walk any further.
They are tired. You have to take care
of the weakest man among us.”

“You are right, Grys.
We will have to get away from the road
and go down the cliff, to get a sleeping place.
When the British become aware that we have escaped,
they will start following our tracks.”

“Kotie, lets turn off here to the left.
The cliff is deep. They will never find us here.
If suddenly they find us, we can run along
the cliff in to the bushes.
If we reach the bushes,
they can bring thousands of men
to try and find us, but will have no success.
I know this region very well.”

It sounds like a great plan,
come on guys lets go down the cliff.
Let’s

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