{Thu 16 November 2006}   Die Skoene Jag
It’s doubtless no longer politically correct to make Van der Anyone the butt of any joke, but perhaps readers will forgive this poem on understanding that I wrote it at age 13. I’ve just rediscovered it on going through an ancient poetry notebook. Anyone who remembers my Dad will recognise him as my source for this – he had so much pleasure in the telling of this story and so I’m publishing the poem in memory of him. Thanks for the lighter side, Dr. Peter John Burman!

Die Skoene Jag

Van der Merwe sien ou Doep
Loop-loop langsaan by sy stoep.
Ou Doep dra ‘n mooi pak klere,
Soos ‘n volstruis met sy vere.
Op sy voet ‘n lekker skoen
Maak sy voorkoms mooi voldoen.

“Haai, ou pel! Daarop jou voet
“H’t ek nooit so ‘n lekker skoen ontmoet!
“Sê vir my, waar het jy
“So ‘n lekker skoen gekry?”
“Jy kan dit nie in winkels koop,”
Is die antwoord van ou Doep.
“Jy moet jag, indien jy wil,
Gaan skiet nou maar ‘n krokodil.”

Elke nag het Van gegaan
Na die rivier onder volle maan.
Ongelukkig, soggens tuis,
“Niks gesien, nie nog ‘n muis!”
Toe besluit hy laaste keer
Krokodil te soek by die rivier.

Hierdie keer, tot sy geluk,
Het krokodil op bank gebuk.
Van der Merwe skiet die dier,
Gaan in die water, trek hom neer.
Maar Van het ongeluk ontmoet:
“Die dom krokodil is mos kaalvoet!”

See my literal translation of this poem here: The Shoe Hunt. You can also enjoy the Americanized version by David Ennis in the Comment below.

daai bleddy politikal se korrek se bedorner! Van der Merwe is ‘n nationale treasure. dom krokodil is mos kaalvoet. wragtig!

TiaTalk says:

[…] been curious but didn’t ask… here’s a translation of the Afrikaans poem Die Skoene Jag which I posted on November 16th (I’ve noticed that this particular poem keeps registering […]

My probeer om jou vermaaklike gedig te vertaal (Ek het die twee outjies Amerikaners gemaak):

Johnny Johnson sees old George
Walking outside on his porch
Dressed in style from hem to cuff,
And like an ostrich struts his stuff.
There on his feet are shoes to match
The final touch, without a scratch.

“Man, oh man! What’s on your feet
“Those shoes you’re wearing sure are sweet!
“You’ve got to tell me where they’re from
“So I can go and get me some”
“These shoes don’t come from any store,”
Old George replies, then adds this more:
“You’ve got to hunt to get this style,
You’ve got to shoot a crocodile.”

So Johnny Johnson hunts each night
The river bank in full moonlight.
Then trudges, luckless, to his house
“I didn’t even see a mouse!”
But he decides to hunt once more
A croc’ upon the river’s shore.

His luck this time has turned around,
A croc upon the bank he’s found.
So Johnny shoots the creature dead,
He sees the shoes now, in his head.
But then cries out as if in shock:
“I’ve shot a stupid barefoot croc!”

Tia says:

LOL! That’s just brilliant, Scott – not literal, but certainly better at conveying the humour than my hasty translation attempt. Nice to see the Van concept crossing the seas to a perhaps more appropriate butt of jokes for the present times (oops, naughty me!)

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