Disappointment -- No soul? LO12143

Mnr AM de Lange (AMDELANGE@gold.up.ac.za)
Thu, 23 Jan 1997 15:42:31 GMT+2

Winfried Deijmann wrote in LO12105

> Can you give us the poem anyway At!?
> The South African-language is familiar to Dutch so that's why it interests
> me, and because one can feel the rhythm and recognmize the rhyme without
> understanding the language. It might be interesting just to recitated the
> lines and enjoy the magic of the sound of these words, the rhythm and the
> rhyme without understanding them. It's fascinating to reproduce sounds
> that doesn't have a meaning to you but apperently does have to others.

Dear organlearners,

You will remember that I have said the poem decribes the soul of the
Afrikaner at the beginning of this century. I will first satisfy
Winfried's request and hope Rick will allow it here, because it is a
telling poem. I will quote only the first two thirds of the poem:


"O koud is die windjie
en skraal
en blink in die doflig
en kaal
so wyd as die Heer se genade
l^e die velde in sterlig en skade.
En hoog in die rande
versprei in die brande
is die grassaad aan roere
soos winkende hande..."

I will now try my hand at an English translation. Obviously, some of the
rythm and most of the rhyme get lost. I managed to concerve some in the
first third of the poem.

"How cold is the windlet
and spare
and bright in the twilight
and bare
as wide as the Lord's grace
lay the fields in starlight and ruin.
And high in the ridges
spreaded in the fires
the grass-plumes are stirring
like beckoning hands..."

The first third refers to the immense ruin and desolation caused by the
war against British Empire. The second third refers to the birth of a new
era - unfortunately, an era which eventially derailed into apartheid. (The
last third expresses a longing for this new era.)

Marais wrote many beautiful poems. Two outstanding poems are "Dans van die
Reen" (Dance of the Rain) and "Mabalel", both in which the metaphor is a
young woman.

But probably most important for readers of this forum, Marais
wrote (<1935) about 'deep' organisational learning, probably
before Peter Senge was even borne. He wrote a book
Marais, E.N. 1938 Die siel van die mier.
Pretoria: Van Schaick.
of which a wonderful English translation was made by dr Winifred
de Kock
Marais, E.N. 1970 The soul of the ant. (Transl W de Kock)
Cape Town: Human & Roussouw.
This book is a remarkable foreshadow of the LO in terms of
the behaviours of an ant colony.

Another 'book' in the same vein, but one which I enjoyed even
more, is "Burgers van die Berge" (Citizens of the Mountains). I
still remember how I laughed and cried when reading it. It is
a book which never stops to touche the soul. The focus is now on
baboons rather than ants. In this book we see ourselves
reflected by the baboons. (It is not an anthropomorphic account
of baboons - Marais was not a fool.) This 'book' originally
appeared as a series in a newspaper. It is available in the
collective works of
Marais, E.N. 1984 Versamelde werke. Ed. Leon Roussouw.
Pretoria: Van Schaick.
I do not know of any English translation, which is indeed a
great pitty, because it is will be an extraordinary resource
book for nonhuman (deep) organisational learning.

Eugene Marais was a creative genius and a tragic figure. He was a medical
doctor, a barrister, a journalist, a naturalist, a sharp observer, an
enticing poet, a fabulous storyteller, a pioneer in the shaping of the
spelling of a new language, a sworn patriot, sensitive to even the
feigntest of spiritual vibrations, a man torned apart by the clashing
worlds in which he lived. His intollerance for corruption, ignorance and
hypocrisy was legendary. He was such a kind and trustworthy man that
whether it be children in the street or birds and animals in the veld,
they would gather with the same ease and speed around him like iron
fillings to a magnet.

He became addicted to opium and morphine to escape the intensity
of the revolutionary creativity burning within him. This caused
unbearable pain because he lived an a world which could not
handle him. He eventually commited suicide in his early sixtees
after some 40 years of addiction. He longed for soul contact,
but was daily disappointed. Consequently, it is not strange that
a biography on him has a title of which the English translation
would be "The Great Longing":
Roussouw, L. 1974 Die groot verlange.
Cape Town: Human & Roussouw.
Maybe someone can start a new thread "My great longing" out of
Sherri Malouf's thread "Disappointment -- No soul?"

So much about Eugene Marais.

Have you noticed the following sentence written by Winfried?

> LO-concepts will only be here to stay if we are able to
> create these moments of creative contemplation in
> ourselves, with our clients and our clients with their
> workers with their co-workers, etc. etc.

Winfried, it touched my mind, my heart and my soul. It would certainly
have done the same to Eugene Marais. Thank you very much.

Best wishes
- --

At de Lange
Gold Fields Computer Centre for Education
University of Pretoria
Pretoria, South Africa
email: amdelange@gold.up.ac.za


"Mnr AM de Lange" <AMDELANGE@gold.up.ac.za>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>