My favorite poem of all time: ‘The Kraken’

I’m lucky enough to be so opinionated that I can have a favorite poem of all time. This one blew my mind when I first read it, and still does every time. As for the timeline? Tennyson was born in 1809, he died in 1892. Not slap bang in the middle of Beethoven & co., but respectably close to the tail end of that prodigious period. Read the poem again and weep if you have a heart:
 The Kraken
Alfred Lord Tennyson
 
  Below the thunders of the upper deep;
  Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
  His antient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
  The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
  About his shadowy sides: above him swell
  Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
  And far away into the sickly light,
  From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
  Unnumber’d and enormous polypi
  Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
  There hath he lain for ages and will lie
  Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
  Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
  Then once by man and angels to be seen,
  In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

Muvilo (Vangueria Floribunda)

In researching South African plants in their anthropological context for my upcoming book (I sure as hell hope it’s ‘upcoming’!) I came across this one. It’s fascinating to note that many members of the Lovedu tribe in the north of South Africa’s Limpopo province could, a hundred years ago, identify up to two hundred plant species, with their uses. I challenge most of my modern readers to do the same.

Anyway, about the Muvilo tree: A branch, first presented to termites, is used to beat the temples to cure migraine; a medicated pole across the gate entrance keeps out witches. May not be used as firewood. I’m not sure why the branch needs to be presented to the termites first–I’d have thought the termites of the area knew the Muvilo tree by now.

The fruit is eaten by herdboys (January to March). When first flowering, don’t buy or hatch chickens (sand fleas – madzedze).

Just thought you’d like to know …


While writing this, I was listening to "Amber Light" by Mike Oldfield