Rhyme of Africa

I see the wet tracks across the mud down to the water side

And beyond the reeds a Mesozoic head leaves a wake wide.

Two steely eyes are glued on the body of the target meal,

An unsuspecting, struggling young wildebeest who will not deal

With wide, wide jaw, razor like row of teeth and body that will turn

Its prey and then, dive with it to underwater cave of no return

The deed is done, and the river resumes its slow and gentle flow

Past the hippos hiding from the overhead sun’s unremitting glow.

High above a slowly moving shape passes menacingly above,

An eagle that, from its height, can see the pair of mourning doves,

And then diverts to dive down on the surface swimming bream

To sink its talons into the fish, a catch so fast and yet so clean.

Not far from the ribbon of tree lined water, a pride of lions has fed

And sated, lie beneath the thorn dressed fever tree, dry grass their bed.

Not far away a noisy fight proceeds to own the remnants of the kill

Left by the lions, faces bloody, distended bellies who have had their fill.

The fighters are the hyenas, front line cleaners of the bush, and beyond

Them the vultures and hopeful jackal snapping a scrap in just a second.

Far from the flow of life-giving water, the soil is cracked and dry, the grass

Is stiff and brown to stay like that until the first rain comes to pass,

Heralded by lightning streaks that flash across the sky and dance upon

The kopjes’ rocks where the leopard used to live, but now has gone.

The rain has now stopped falling and the gazelles jump up and down

Knowing that in just a few days, the grass will be like a meadow newly sown.

All along the branches of the trees, tiny green shoots appear between the thorns,

Harbingers of good times to come when a sudden floral birth the veld adorns.

Zebras, impala and delicate Thompson’s gazelles, bodies newly flesh refined,

Come together to pro-create, to ensure a brand-new generation of their kind.

This ensures that Old Africa is renewed and can, through time eternal, move

From generation to generation and always be the land we will always love