Poetry in your back yard

2010-10-27 00:00

FOR anyone who has ever sat in a garden to watch and enjoy the birds and insects going about their business, there is a new book of poems out that puts the experience into words in the most delightful way.

Butterflies & Blackjacks: Poems from a Maritzburg Garden by Clive Lawrance is a collection of short poems­, inspired by the garden Lawrance made as a sanctuary for birds and butterflies when he returned to Pietermaritzburg after living for 13 years in Nieu Bethesda and Grahamstown.

“I would sit there, day after day, and think I must record it. I grew up next to a river, and I’ve always had a love of creatures. I spent more time watching nature than at my school work.”

“Having written the poems I wondered if they would make a little book,” he says. Not that Lawrance was thinking about publishing. He gave the poems to his daughter Sarah Groves, who along with her husband had recently started a small publishing company, and it was their decision to publish.

Lawrance’s poems are illustrated by enchanting, funny drawings by Witness cartoonist Stidy, who has known Lawrance since they were colleagues at the Witness in the 1990s. They show lively birds, bugs and frogs, complementing the ones that fill the poems.



I look for her every day

but cannot find her


I think she’s trekked

or been done in


given away by rolling eyes

and a pensioner’s jerky gait.


• Butterflies & Blackjacks by Clive Lawrance is published by Abound and is available from Bookworld at Cascades, Adams Bookshop in the CBD, Rosehurst, Macs, Eden Nursery in the Oak Hill Estate and the Botanic Gardens Restaurant.

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