South Africa – gold and diamonds
beneath the streets of Kimberley,
a town of pencil and ebony watercolour.
Frederick Villiers, Artist and War
Correspondent, dressed in trilby
and tweeds, sent to report on the townâ€™s
relief by British troops in khaki uniforms.
He posts an engraving home,
leaning out of a two-wheeled
covered trap, lurching along a rutted
and dusty highway that runs barefoot
around a kop, spoil tip from the mines.
A British soldier points a rifle at him.
Don’t shoot me. Iâ€™m not a Boer!
The Corporal fires anyway, misses,
and the bullet prunes a thorn bush.
The black driver urges the horses
on and Frederick mops his brow
as the trap rumbles, stumbles along,
into, then out of history.
Â© Rodney Wood
Picture 10099400, engraving, 1900, image copyright Mary Evans / Illustrated London News
Rodney Wood lives in Farnborough and worked in London and Guildford before retiring. His poems have appeared recently in Atrium, The High Window, The Journal, Orbis and Magma (where he was Selected Poet in the deaf issue). He co-hosts a monthly open mic at The Lightbox Art Gallery in Woking. He has two pamphlets, Dante Called You Beatrice (2017) and When Listening Isn’t Enough (2021): all proceeds from the sale of the latter were donated to the Samaritans. He blogs at https://rodneywoodpoet.wordpress.com/