Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Eugène N. Marais - The Dance of the Rain

Eugène Nielen Marais

The Dance of the Rain
Eugène N. Marais

Song of the fiddler, Jan Konterdans, of the Great Desert

Oh, the dance of our Sister!
First, over the hilltop she slyly peeps,
            and her eyes are shy;
            and she laughs softly.
From afar she beckons with one hand
her armlets shimmer and her beads sparkle;
            she calls softly.
She tells the winds about the dance
and she invites them, since the yard is wide and the wedding large.

The big game rush up from the plains,
            they gather on the hilltop,
their nostrils flare wide
            and they gulp the wind;
and they crouch, to see her delicate tracks in the sand.

The tiny ones, deep underground, hear the shuffle of her feet,
            and they crawl closer softly singing:
            “Our Sister! Our Sister! You came! You came!”

And her beads shake,
and her copper bangles shine in the vanishing sun.
            On her forehead rests the vulture’s fiery plume;
                she steps down from the heights;
she spreads the dusty kaross with both arms;
                the wind’s breath is taken away.
            Oh, the dance of our Sister!

(Translated by Johann de Lange)