Ag, ou boet!

       I thought I’d write a letter to you,

You might have heard she died,

       And I thought you should know it’s true.

It’s been many years

       Since you left home,

To travel to the city

       And the world to roam.

But not much has changed

       Since you were small,

The river shrunk

       And the trees grew tall.

Ja, ou boet,

       What you said was true,

Not much happens

       In the old Karoo.

            * * * * * * * * * *

 Now I sit on the stoep

       And drink the ‘blitz I made,

And watch the colours

       As they slowly fade.

 

And the shadows lengthen

       From where the old trees stand,

And the blue sky’s like a blanket

       Across the land.

 

And far above

       Birds fly on high,

And send their challenge

       To the clear blue sky.

And the dark blue mountains

       In the distance ring,

And echo the cry

       The eagles bring.

 

And dust devils dance

       Across the hard, parched land,

And shrivelled shrubs dig for water

       In the hot, dry sand.

 

Ja, ou boet,

       There’s not much to do,

Here in the backwoods

       Of the old Karoo.

            * * * * * * * * * *

But I must admit

       I’ve had a good life,

Teasing old Gert

       And drinking tea with his wife.

 

Now his wife Rikki,

       She was always with child,

He thought he was a stud but . . .

       We all just smiled.

 

Ja, ou boet!

       There’s not much to,

Here in the backwoods

       Of the old Karoo.

            * * * * * * * * * *

Yet there was always some scheme

       We were willing to try,

We’d start it first

       ‘Fore we questioned why.

 

Like that mine we began

       ‘Cause we’d get rich for sure,

We were digging for diamonds

       But . . . all we found was ore.

 

And that little hospital we built

       Down by old du Toit,

When Rikki was pregnant

       With her fourteenth boy.

 

And the youngsters they use it

       To this day still,

That old building with my initials

       Carved on the window sill.

 

But those times are finished,

       All those days are gone,

And the house is silent,

       Since she passed on.

 

Now I sit on the stoep

       And drink the ‘blitz I made,

And watch the colours

       As they slowly fade.

 

Ja, ou boet,

       What you said was true,

Not much happens

       In the old Karoo.