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Charles Eglington


Easy questions to cut your teeth on!

Keith Tankard
Updated: 22 January 2014
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A cheetah is innocently lolling in the long grass. All around are buck, apparently unaware of its presence.

Then, as hunger takes hold, the cheetah looks for its prey. Immediately the buck break into a stampede and the cheetah gives chase.


Information on Charles Eglington is very sketchy indeed.

We know that he was born in Johannesburg and worked there as a journalist and a magazine editor. His name, however, is connected more with translations of other people's work -- especially Afrikaans writers -- than with his own.

There appears to have been only one book of Eglington's poetry published, and that happened after his death. He did, however, have several poems in the book Homage to Fernando Pessoa, the Portuguese poet Pessoa apparently being a great influence on Eglington.

(If anyone has any other information on Eglington, we would be very grateful to have it.)

Have you looked at the questions
in the right column?
Read the left column and then answer
the following questions:

"Indolent and kitten-eyed,
This is the bushveld's innocent
The stealthy leopard parodied
With grinning, gangling pup-content."
  • The poet paints a picture of a seemingly harmless creature. What words does he use to portray this innocence? Give the meaning of each word you list. (6)

[Need help?]

  • Why does the poet speak of "parodied"? (4)

[Need help?]

  • Comment on the use of alliteration in "with grinning, gangling pup-content". (4)

[Need help?]

"Around the vast arena where;
In scattered herds, his grazing prey
Do not suspect in what wild fear
They'll join with him in fatal play."
  • What is an OXYMORON? Provide an example of an oxymoron used in these four lines. (3)

[Need help?]

  • Why does the grazing prey not suspect that the cheetah is there? (4)

[Need help?]

"Till hunger draws slack sinews tight
And vibrant as a hunter's bow;
Then, like a fleck of mottled light,
He slides across the still plateau."
  • Comment on the simile "vibrant as a hunter's bow". (4)

[Need help?]

  • One poetry anthology describes "plateau" as a "flat area of land". Is this correct? (2)

[Need help?]

"A tremor rakes the herds: they scent
The pungent breeze of his advance;
Heads rear and jerk in vigilant
Compliance with the game of chance."
  • The poet twice mentions that the hunt is a game in which the animals partake, although it ultimately has fatal consequences. Would you like to comment on this game? (4)

[Need help?]

"His stealth and swiftness fling a noose
And as his loping strides begin
To blur with speed, he ropes the loose
Buck on the red horizon in."
  • What image is the poet using in these lines? (2)

[Need help?]

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