This is a deeply descriptive poem set in the heat of summer somewhere near Louis Trichardt. The poet
dwells on the intense midday heat which causes all human activity to grind to a standstill.
Nearby, however, he hears the gentle cooing of a flock of wild doves, their sound bubbling forth as a cool
cascade of pleasure to the ears.
ABOUT THE POET
William Charles Franklyn Plomer -- pronounced "Ploomer" -- was born in Pietersburg in the
Northern Transvaal in December 1903. Today it is known as Polokwane in the Limpopo Province.
Because his father -- a magistrate -- wanted the best possible education for him, he was
home-schooled at first and then sent to England at a very early age. Later he would return to South Africa,
where he would graduate from St John's College in Johannesburg.
He turned down an offer for a degree at Oxford University but instead became a farmer in the Stormberg
region of South Africa.
He later forces with poet Roy Campbell to edit an Afrikaans literary journal known as Voorslag
but the magazine was not popular, and Campbell and Plomer had a falling-out over objectives.
Plomer became a loner, possibly because of the early separation from his family, but he also developed
an overt homosexual tendency, something which he made no attempt to hide.
He won fame in South Africa for a novel based on an interracial relationship, a theme which was new at
the time but which later became common.
He spent some years in Japan teaching at Tokyo School of Foreign Language and then at a private high
school but in 1929 returned to England which he made his base, although frequently returning to South
He had diverse literary talents which included writing poetry, novels and even the librettos for several of
Sir Benjamin Britten's musical compositions.
He was the recipient of several honours such as an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Durham
as well as the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. In 1968 he was awarded the C.B.E.
Plomer died in England 1973 at the age of 70.
Have you looked at the questions
in the right column?