Published in the Cape Argus circa 1930s
Well, I know them, the cattle rangers where it is a long day’s ride to a neighbour – the prospecting camp’s far in the fever-stricken Bush, the native trading store where a mounted trooper perhaps once in three months is the only link with the world of civilisation.
A lonely life – Aye – It might seem so to those who have never lived the life of the Bush. It never seemed so to me or to those I met in the lands beyond the Pale.
I’ve felt the loneliness more in enemy camps herded with forty thousand other captives than in the Bush – I felt it greater than ever today living on the fringe of a city.
It is strange indeed that one should feel desolate and alone in the midst of thousands. It is strange that discontent should reign where one’s wants are supplied by the mere lifting of a telephone receiver.
Out in the Wilds many were the meatless days because the grass was too long for hunting – often one lay wet and chilled to the bone, one has craved and prayed for a little shade, a drink of cold clear water, a pipeful of tobacco, news of the world – But there a man is free – changes of Government, Parliamentary Budgets, The Conventions of Man, the Laws of Nations all were but whispers in the wind.
When hungered a man sought for food when a thirst he looked for means of quenching it. The stars above, the Hills and rivers, the glades of the Bush and the never-ending, always changing pictures of Nature filled his soul with content.
Civilisation, a mess of potage – What can it offer for loss of man’s birthright – Freedom?
Not health of body or of mind – one eternal battle to pay butcher, baker, chemist. Pay, Pay and continue to Pay – friends who seek one to gain some benefit for themselves – Nothing for Nothing and little of value for what one pays.
Caged one from the Wilds lies watching the people go past his bars – sees them eat when hunger is far from their minds – live by the stroke of the clock, eye one another with longing to possess this or that.
Lonely – God in His Heaven alone knows how lonely is the soul who for fancied security for wife and child forsook the Wilds his home and betrayed his faith in Nature the Holy Father desolate and forsaken from behind his bars he watches his fellows – a herd born and bred to slave conditions unwitting of their fetters happy in the prison yard of Civilisation.
“I will arise and go unto my father and will say unto him Father I have sinned.”