Author Archives: Peter Bates

About Peter Bates

I'm a young guy in Cape Town, studying English and History, and teaching at high school level. I love to write and to work in theatre, both on and behind the stage.

Entry #172

The desolation is absolute. Not a single tree stands before me, nor any animal. There are no signs of life at all. Over time, the sun has blasted the iron-brown land and the wind has abraded it; the plateau stretches before me, mirror-flat and searing. Even the sky suffers: it is not blue, but red. All I can see before me is this horrendous landscape. It seems to be actively hostile, and I quail at the thought of having to journey onwards. All I have to guide me is a completely inadequate map, and a compass. I intend to drive dead east for four nights, sheltering during the day. By then I will have reached my base camp for the next few weeks. My predecessor brought back inventory lists, and there is water and food for a single researcher for twelve weeks. Hopefully my part of the job will be completed by then; if not, I’ll have to make the trip back for more supplies. Speaking to my predecessor, Dr. Mogal, he told me his digging revealed the expected fossil signs of a prehistoric ocean bed. He left the rest of his research files at the dig site. He also told me he found something peculiar in the sediment he was extracting, and advised me to pay close attention to the blue file he left on the top of his research pile. I made a note to do this. Dr. Mogal went back to the city to report to our Sponsor, and I went to hitch the trailer. I depart here at sunset.

Dr. Henry James

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Move on

I wiggle my toes against the tight-laced canvas

Dyed bright red with a toe cap of white,

And look a final time around the room; in a sun-shaft floats

A mote of dust suspended in the breath of my sigh

And from the corner the plant glooms, doleful

It has water to see it out this week but then

It will wither. I shoulder my backpack, packed

And strapped, bulging, and kick at a pile of papers

Left behind. Lest I forget, I place the note ‘forgive me’

On the counter, and turn to go.


All the time

It will take a few weeks

To realise it‘s right there

Right in front of my eyes

What I’ve wanted all the time


I can’t really tell what I want

But I don’t want to be alone

And I’ve known that all this time


You’re the best I could have had

And in a few weeks I will realise


That I’ve known it all the time


Leaving

Now has come the time that I am gone

A marker shows the route I’ve left upon

And on that route my journey follows swift

As on the wind a feather set adrift

I have some doubt I shall return one day

For well I know how way leads on to way

And if I am not back please do not grieve

Of my memory and history, take leave


Deathcry

Here is the flourishing flower-bud
Here is the tree bearing fruit
Here grows the seed from the ploughed mud
But then sounds the cry of the brute

Here does the field lie salted
Here dies the flight of the bird
Here is the courage that falters
At the sound of the word it has heard


Self promotion, good or bad?

Recently a lot has been said about self-promotion. I think that this is an issue that definitely affects the YouTube South Africa – people post to the Facebook group not with the view of participating in the community, but rather with the view of getting their material out there as much as possible.

Several posts in the past few days have been asking or even pleading for subscribers or likes on their content. While I totally support posting updates and info on what you are doing, I think it is extremely important to strike a balance. A group with only advertisements and brags will end quite badly – if people aren’t watching your videos, shoving it down their throats won’t help. If anything, it will just drive them further away.

I think it is vital for the health of the community to watch and subscribe and comment on as many posts as possible. That kind of engagement will keep the YouTube SA community healthy, and ultimately that’s what this is all about. Not shameless self-promotion (well maybe a bit of it, yes, but don’t go overboard), but rather a healthy, intelligent interactive discussion about the content that South African YouTubers are creating.

As a new content creator, I understand that the feedback you get from people watching your videos and commenting is very encouraging and motivating, and in many cases supplies you with very important feedback as to what your audience wants to see. But just engaging on the Facebook page with the sole intent to advertise your own channel? I think there is definitely something that needs changing there.

We should all be making an effort to build up the community by engaging each other, not just plugging our own work.


Weep

Weep, lost man, for played-out days

And listen to your voice’s phrase

That echoes empty passageways

And leaves your boldness in a daze

 

Convince yourself life’s just a phase,

Surround yourself with mocking praise

And blindly follow every craze

To shore the gaps in soul’s appraise

 

Weep, lost man, for distant days

And feeling lost in endless maze

With courage cracking like a glaze

Under life’s enduring blaze

 

Convince yourself life’s just a craze,

A place to waste your restless days

And feel your way through sluggish haze

Until your soul’s to rubble razed