I have finished my commission for ‘Love: A Feathered Thing’- Now I have to set it free to fly all the way to Australia, to its new home. Commissions are hard, in that you always worry that what you create this time may not be what the recipient really desired. As always, I spent a long time mulling it over, reading about feathers, collecting feathers, re-examining my own feelings and memories about feathers. This took me back to one of my favourite poems by Boerneef (1897-1967), which I have mentioned before, that of “Die Berggans het ‘n Veer Laat Val”. I translated it – I couldn’t compare, but here it is:
The Nile goose feather floated, fell
from the highest crest in Wupperthal
My heart is drawn yet more and more
I send to you my Nile goose lore
with it I wish to say
my love is true in every way
Wupperdal is a small village in the Cederberg (Mountain) in South Africa. The ‘berggans’ (Afrikaans)- literal ‘mountain goose’ is the ‘kolgans’ or Egyptian Goose: Alopochen- aegypttiacus. It does have beautiful feathers!