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Open wide the window, Sonny | 24-Feb-06

Open wide the window Sonny,
Let me see the veldt, 
With the great horizon round it
Like a silver belt...

26 comments have been made on this quote. Click here to read them and then add your own!


Do you know this poem? Do you have any clues to help us find it?


Comments:

Open wide the window, Sonny, is the poem I'm searching for. Where can I find it?
Chris Booysen

My Recently Deceased grand mother told it as follows
Cast the window wider Sonny, let me see the veldt
Rolling grandly to the sunset where the mountains melt
Years and years I?ve trekked across it
Ridden back and forth
No man ever knew it better
None could love it more.

Craig France-Brotherton

I am also looking for the full text of this poem. I know that it was written by a prominent South African poet and the name of the poem is ?The old Voortrekker?

Other words I remember is

Cast the window wider Sonny, let me see the veld
Rolling grandly to the sunset where the mountains melt
Years and years I?ve trekked across it
Ridden back and forth
No man ever knew it better
None could love it more.

There?s a spot I know of Sonny
Yonder by the stream
Bushes handy for the fire
Water for the team?

The old Voortrekker passes away at the end with the words

?let my lie and dream?

Johan Grobbelaar

amazing that somebody else would be looking for the words of the poem, which I last read in high school half a century ago and which it finally occured to me to check up in google. I think the poet was Preller. If you migt have come across it I'd appreciate it very much if you'd mail me a copy. Sincerely. HB
hans beukes

I have the following 4 verses. However I believe that there may be anther verse between the 3rd and 4th.

Cast the window wider Sonny, let me see the veld,
Rolling grandly to the sunset where the mountains melt,
With the sharp horizon round it, like a silver belt.

Years and years I?ve trekked across it ridden back and fore
Till the silence and the glamour ruled me to the core.
No man ever knew it better, none could love it more.

There?s a balm for crippled spirits in the open view
Stretching from your very footsteps out into the blue
Like a wagon track to Heaven, straight twixt God and you

There?s a place I know of Sonny yonder by the stream,
Bushes handy for a fire, water for the team,
By the old home outspan Sonny let me lie and dream.

Margaret Farquharson

Het iemand al die korrekte woorde van hierdie gedig. Ek wil dit ook graag bekom.Ek onthou dit so:
Cast the window wider sonny
Let me see the veld.
Open grandeurs......
alwyn visser

I READ ABOUT IT WHILE I WAS IN HOGH SCHOOL ACTUALLY IT WAS A QUOTE FROM THE POEM I WOULD LIKE TO GET THE POEM:"CAST THE WINDOW WIDER SONNY, LET ME SEE THE VELD"
MZUKISI HLEKO

Sover ek onthou het dit in die 40-tigerjare van die vorige eeu voorgekom in 'n Engelse leesboekie vir standerd 4/5 of 6 . Die reeks: Sunny South Readers.
alwyn visser

I've been looking for this poem for ages now, can anyone give me more information?
Frances Bremner

My grandfather used to say it was his favourite poem he learnt in school, he was 84 years. I would really like to get my hands on a copy
Frances Bremner

I expect that by now, everyone has come across the words of this poem. Here are the correct words from two separate sources, one dating back to 1903. Both give the title as ?The Veldt? but I am sure it was also published under the title ?The Old Voortrekker? and it makes sense, especially the references to the wagon and the ?team? of oxen. ?Years and years I've trekked across it? might even suggest the thought of an old transport driver. Anyway, here it is for all those who have know the vastness of the veld, especially at dusk with the far off sound of turtle doves and Guinea Fowl. Enjoy it.

THE VELDT. [from African Items: A Volume of Verse by Perceval Gibbon ]

Cast the window wider, sonny;
Let me see the veldt
Rolling grandly to the sunset
Where the mountains melt,
With the sharp horizon round it,
Like a silver belt.

Years and years I've trekked across it,
Ridden back and fore,
Till the silence and the glamour
Ruled me to the core:
No man ever knew it better;
None could love it more.

There's a balm for crippled spirits
In the open view,
Running from your very footsteps
Out into the blue,
Like a waggon track to heaven,
Straight 'twixt God and you.

There's a magic, soul-compelling,
In the boundless space,
And it grows upon you, sonny,
Like a woman's face,
Passionate and pale and tender,
With a marble grace.

There's the sum of all religion
In its mightiness;
Wing?d truths, beyond your doubting,
Close about you press.
God is greater in the open;
Little man is less.

There's a voice pervades its stillness,
Wonderful and clear;
Tongues of prophets and of angels,
Whispering far and near,
Speak an everlasting gospel
To the spirit's ear.

There's a sense you gather, sonny,
In the open air;
Shift your burden ere it break you:
God will take His share.
Keep your end up for your own sake;
All the rest's His care.


There's a promise, if you need it,
For the time to come;
All the veldt is loud and vocal
Where the Bible's dumb.
Heaven's paved with gold for parsons,
But it's grassed for some.

There's a spot I know of, sonny,
Yonder by the stream;
Bushes handy for the fire,
Water for the team.
By the old home outspan, sonny,
Let me lie and dream.

Johan Grobbelaar

TheVeldt/Old Voortrekker was written by Reginald Perceval Gibbon Born in Trellech Carmarthen Nov 4th 1879, travelled widly as a war reporter &spent some time in South Africa. He wrote short stories for magazines and was a war correspondent for the New York Times .He died on Guernsey May 31st 1926
simon ward

The second last poster, Johann Grobbelaar, is the closest to having the full poem.

Here it is in its entirety, as taken from the anthology called South African Poetry and Verse, selected by E H Crouch, published by La Croix, Cambridge, Cape Colony, 1907.

The title is The Velt, not The Voortrekkers. Percival Gibbon did write a poem called The Voorloopers and maybe that name is wrongly being connected with the Veldt?

Here's the poem with the last two verses added.

The Veldt.
By Percival Gibbon

Cast the window wider, sonny,
Let me see the veldt,
Rolling grandly to the sunset
Where the mountains melt,
With the sharp horizon round it,
Like a silver belt.

Years and years I've trekked across it,
Ridden back and fore,
Till the silence and the glamour
Ruled me to the core;
No man ever knew it better;
None could love it more.

There's a balm for crippled spirits
In the open view,
Running from your very footsteps
Out into the blue,
Like a wagon-track to heaven,
Straight 'twixt God and you.

There's a magic, soul-compelling,
In the boundless space,
And it grows upon you, sonny,
Like a woman's face -
Passionate and pale and tender,
With a marble grace.

There's the sum of all religion
In its mightiness;
Winged truths, beyond your doubting,
Close about you press.
God is greater in the open -
Little man is less.

There's a voice pervades its stillness,
Wonderful and clear;
Tongues of prophets and of angels,
Whispering far and near,
Speak an everlasting gospel
To the spirit's ear.

There's a sense you gather, sonny,
In the open air;
Shift your burden ere it break you:
God will take His share.
Keep your end up for your own sake;
All the rest's His care.

There?s a promise, if you need it,
For the time to come;
All the veldt is loud and vocal
Where the Bible?s dumb.
Heaven is paved with gold for parsons,
But it?s grassed for some.


There?s a spot I know of, sonny,
Yonder by the stream;
Bushes handy for the fire,
Water for the team.
By the old home outspan, sonny,
Let me lie and dream.

penelope loom

Perceval (correct spelling) Gibbon, is the author of a novel, 'Margaret Harding' first published in 1911 by Methuen & Co. London in Methuen's Colonial Library Series -- and later published in 1983 by Africasouth Paperbacks, David Philip, Cape Town. My wife bought a remaindered copy in a bookshop at least five years ago.
For myself, I was severely reprimanded at school by my teacher, Richard Rive, for daring to recite this poem, which he described as 'sentimental twaddle'. It happened to be my father's favourite poem.
Julian de Wette

In 1946 at the English Medium Primary School, Middelburg,Tvl,we had to memorise this poem.I can only recall part of the opening verse:"Open wide the window sonny,let me see the veldt rolling grandly to the sunset where the mountains melt.
Johann van Blerk

Thanks to all the correspondents who have brought this old poem back to life for me. My father, who was brought up on a farm near Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape in the Twenties, loved this poem and used to regale us with it often. Or at least the parts of it that he could remember..... and which he cobbled together somewhat incorrectly I now discover.

Is it great poetry? I shouldn't think so (Julian de Wette's teacher was probably right). But my father loved it and that is good enough for me.
Allan Wood

I learned this poem at school , it was written in South Africa by Perceval Gibbon a Welshman born in Trelech near Cardif
He had a fairly adventurous life as a war reporter during the 1st world war and the full poem may be obtained from the Univercity of Toronto poetry department or me (after diligent searching)
simon ward

hierdie gedig het ek in 1951 geleer uit die einste Sunny South reader te Bloemfontein Oranje Meisieskool .Ek is nou 74 en het jare lank na die woorde gesoek tot ek vanoggend slim geskrik het met die titel the .veldt. Ek woon sedert 1956 in die Kaap maar hierdie gedig is steeds deel van my waar ek nou by my studeerkamervenster uitkyk op die Oostenberg Kuilstivier . My oupa van Heerden het as 4 jarige weeskind tou gelei vir die familie wat transport gery het vanaf PE na Kimberley met myn masjienerie.As jong man was hy arbeider op die spoorwee.Hy is oorlede 1jaar voor my geboorte 1937 maar sy lang koevoet is nog my kosbare besitting en les vir my kinders en klienkinders .Ons voorspoed is die vrug van ons voorouers se arbeid onder baie moeilike omstandighede.Baie dankie aan almal wat help soek het .Hierdie gedig gaan saam met die koevoet en my familie se groot liefde vir die veld as erfgoed aan my 3 kinders en 6 kleinkinders .My plek sal altyd voor die venster wees waar ek ver kan sien!
wannia marais maiden name van heerden

my greatgrandfather used to recite this poem to me ,and would gaze into the distance with tears rolling down his cheeks......he loved the Kalahari and knew it like the back of his hand
pierre le roux

So wrintiewaar..ek sal die inleidings woorde nooit vergeet nie...die res van die gedig het ek wel. Gedurende 1950 het ons laerskool hoof Mnr Huyser dramties die gedig gelees toe ek in St 5 was op Rooigrond Laerskool (dist Lichtenburg).. Eks bly ek het onthou om dit te soek op die internet.
Daan Seymore

Hierdie gedig spook al baie jare by my,ek het dit geleer i950 op Rossmore Hoerskool,Aucland Park JHB.Ek onthou net die eerste en tweede versies ek kan nie onthou of ons ooit die voledige gedig geleer het nie maar ek is bly om dit nou op 78 die hele gedig te kan lees.
George Gravett..Scottburgh KZN


George Gravett

Perceval Gibbon was born in Pentre, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Educated on the Continent and served as a war correspondent embedded with Italian forces in WW1 died on the Channel Islands mid 1920's spent many years in South Africa hence the very moving poem . He also wrote some very good stories mostly sited in South Africa.
simon ward

Ai so mooi. My oom Koos Hough het altyd die gedig voorgedra...of dan n deel daarvan. Aan die einde het ek my altyd verbeel het dit soortvan daaroor gegaan dat die digter homself gereedmaak vir sy naderende dood. Of miskien het dit te doen daarmee dat oom Koos vroeg in sy veertigs in n frats ongeluk tragies in Vryburg oorlede is.
Nie te min bly dit vir my een vd mooiste Engelse gedigte, danksy die konnotasie met my oorlede oom.
Dankie vir die woorde. Dit laat my le en droom...
Lucas Janse van Vuuren

We had this Poem in Standard 8, @ Vanderbijlpark Afrikaans Medium Hoerskool in 1960, I loved it very much.
Doris Weller (Anding)

This poem is on a grave stone in an old family grave yard of the Lovemore familey at the top of Lovemore Heights in Port Elizabeth.


John Ashworth

In 1975 in Std 5 I made this beautiful poem part of my treasure . It made a lasting impression on my " Coloured Namibian " mind . My English teacher ( who was from the "Great Karroo ) suggested that Mr Gibbon wrote about a bedridden old Voortrekker . "Cast the window wider sonny " refers to that old type of batwing wooden windows .And what follows is the baring of the soul of someone who knew quitude and inner peace .
Dankie vir almal vir julle mooi herinneringe .
Emile scheffers


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