The Last Rhinos

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This poem is for the rhinos and in particular for the Northern White Rhino of which as of 19th March 2018 there are only two females remaining. In reality both are past breeding age, but I have tried to imagine that one is still small in this poem. The picture is of Southern White Rhino in captivity since so many are being poached out as you read.

Look at me Mum, look at me

Playing in the water with my pal, Jo

You said we were the last, just a moment ago

Females all in a world that’s so

Amazing that the Two Legs want it

All to themselves!

But look what they’ve given us

Water to drink and now a lovely friend, I think,

Who follows me around the waterhole

You know she is so very droll

She’s upside-down and topsy turvy

But don’t you think she’s rather curvy and so

Amazing

Maybe too amazing and the Two Legs will want her

All to themselves.

Mum, mum you keep on munching

The grass they left you for our lunching

But  I really do want you to play

Daddy used to, but he’s gone away.

That night we heard the bangs and the groans,

Smelled the blood and the horrible diesel fumes,

Smelled the Two Legs’ sweaty, animal stench

Heard the babble and squeak of their horrid tones.

Dad was amazing – so amazing!

So smart and so handsome

You said that the Two Legs wanted him all for themselves.

You seem so sad since he’s been gone

And since we were captured and brought to this place.

I know you tell me that we seem safe

We’ve food and we’ve water all provided

But being alone is oh so boring.

Ålone, the last two of our kind on earth today

But we’ll be safe won’t we from the ones with guns?

Fed and watered in captivity

But unable to do normal activity.

Mum, tell me they won’t take you as well,

You’re precious to me and life would be hell

With just me – just me and me alone

And the Two Legs out there

Pretending to help when all they’ve done

Is kill and massacre ’til we’re alone

And they have won and taken the earth

And all it’s animals all for themselves,

With no thought for the future

Just war and destruction against….

All creatures that on earth do dwell

They’ll extinguish all, both great and small

Everyone, themselves as well.

Words and photo copyright to  Englepip©

The death that greets at Butser

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Haggard  skeleton;
Sockets deep;
Horns of plenty,
Decaying bone.
An Iron Age greeting?
Welcome talisman
Or deadly curse?
Dare I enter……?

I was privileged enough last weekend to visit the Iron Age replica settlement at Butser in Hampshire UK. The original farm was an archaeological experiment from the 1970s. It has now moved to a different site nearby where there are houses from Pre-Neolithic to Roman times some recreated from actual archaeological finds in Wessex, giving a living museum. They run various course throughout the year in skills used by our ancestors. I got to make felt for clothing and a friend learned to knapp stone tools. There are skulls above the doors of the neolithic houses. Probably the houses were built by a group and an animal killed for a feast on completion. The skull representing the animal spirit was put over the door maybe to ward off evil spirits.

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Words and photo copyright Englepip©

Daily Prompt: The forest at dusk

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As the sun dropped from a cold winter sky and the last rays filtered into the forest, the chill turned reds to blues and greens to greys. I caught my breath as  crackling ice crept into the undergrowth and night-time creatures hooted from their nests or tripped from their holes moving into the freezing dusk. I had a vague sense of unease as light turned to dark and I had to remind myself that this was the same world it was minutes before.

And yet I was aware it was not.

Words and photo copyright Englepip©

via Daily Prompt: Vague

Watching for the dawn

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Waiting in the darkness

Listening to the shift between

Dark and Light

The silent moments

Before the world changes.

 

Scanning the horizon

For the gathering greyness

That signals the new day.

The first bird tweets before light

And the fox slinks back to its burrow.

 

And then there it is

Suddenly above the hillside

A glimmer of dawn.

There is an exhalation of delight

Among us and a relaxation

Of shoulders held tense.

The new day has come

And we can glory and rejoice

In a new light.

 

Words and photo copyright Englepip©

via Daily Prompt: Glimmer

Daily Prompt: Talisman

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What power weaves  strength  through this face?

Of Idia,  queen from Benin.

Authority conjured in ivory

Great noble who knows how to win.

Portuguese traders,  her puppets

Bound up as clips in her hair

Deep marks of scarification

Assert influence and dominance there.

Only one look  from this death mask

Will all opposition repress

Giving power throughout generations

A talisman for success.

 

 

There are several of these masks,  one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Seattle Art Museum, another in the Linden Museum (Stuttgart)  which I photographed in the British Museum (London),

The Benin ivory mask is a miniature sculptural portrait in ivory of the powerful Queen Mother Idia of the 16th century Benin Empire, taking the form of an African traditional mask. The likeness was worn however, not as a mask, but as a pendant by her son Esigie, who owed his kingship as Oba of Benin to the Queen Mother’s military aid.” from Wikipedia

The fact that this was worn not as a mask but around the waist or possibly hung from the neck of her son Esigie in the 16th century, indicates it was probably a talisman of power. Wikipedia states, “The masks may have been used in ceremonies including the Ugie Iyoba commemoration of the Oba’s mother, as well the Emobo purification ceremony to expel bad spirits from the land.[7][18][19] Similar pendant masks are mainly used in contemporary Emobo ceremonies focused on bad spirits, though the traditions of Emobo may have changed throughout history.[18]”

Poem and photo copyright to Englepip©

via Daily Prompt: Talisman

Jane Austen

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The bronze lady in the hat stands in

Frozen motion at the top of town

Diminutive but stern she looks left

But there are no horses bearing down

Her wonder at the quiet of the street

And the clean appearance of the stone

No mud and straw beneath her feet

Where she is bound in bronze forever.

Jane what have you in your grasp?

Does your book speak of Pride and Prejudice

Or is it Sensibility you clasp

Tight under your arm in the breeze?

 

This is your local town of Basingstoke

Where you sometimes visited to dance

And met with distinguished country folk

To be seen but also mark their ways

So you could write of insights to the lives

Of all the landed gentry roundabout

Their sons, their daughters and their wives

As though in fiction but so near to truth.

Who’d have thought two centuries later

You would reappear among these streets

A heroine, no female writer greater

And stare at all of us who admire you.

Who knows what observations you are making

Of the people as they talk and walk and pass

Are you creating fiction and note-taking

For a novel that is new but bound in bronze?

 

In July 2017, a bronze statue of Jane Austen by sculptor Adam Roud, was unveiled in the town square in Basingstoke to mark two hundred years since her death. Jane Austen, lived in Steventon, a village just out of Basingstoke. The sculpture is a beautiful piece and it looks to me as if she is about to cross the road. Of course now the Top of the Town is all pedestrianised. It is off the beaten track of the main shopping centre but the local pub and some of buildings still remain, although the ground level frontages look modern now. But as with so many places in the UK, if you look above these, you can see the architecture of the past.  The church at Steventon is still there, a pretty little place inside and some of the family are buried in the graveyard, however their original house is no longer there. Jane later moved with her family to Chawton and it is there you can visit the museum about her life.

Pride and Prejudice has to be one of my favourite books now, although I did not appreciate it when I had to study it at school. It is so full of biting humour and caricatures of type. As a parson’s daughter, Jane must have met with many different people and her books demonstrate this.

Words and photo copyright Englepip©

via Daily Prompt: Grasp

Daily Prompt: Earth facts

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It’s a fact

You don’t have to believe it but

It’s a fact

It’s not an alternative

It’s indisputable.

People are human

It’s a fact

They create waste

And the waste they create

Pollutes our rivers

Our land and our air

It’s a fact

Whatever way you

Look at it

We have one earth

And the earth is not limitless

It is a fact

If you use all you have

And there is no more

Then there is nothing

For you

For your family

For humanity

It’s a fact.

~~~~~~~~~~~

We need to change our ways.

 

Words and photo copyright Englepip©

via Daily Prompt: Fact

 

 

 

Daily Prompt: The Crow

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Black crow cackles on his branch.

Watching; waiting there,

For an opportunity.

Crows are amazing birds, very intelligent opportunists, omnivores, they are known to eat anything.  They can use tools to get food and under lab conditions have been known to solve quite complex puzzles.  Farmers are wary of them however as they have been known to peck out the eyes of newborn lambs and other young.

 

Words and photo above copyright Englepip©

Crow (from Wikipedia)

Scientific classificatione
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Corvidae
Subfamily: Corvinae
Genus: Corvus
Linnaeus, 1758

Four Minutes: tribute to Sir Roger Bannister

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Farewell.

I couldn’t do it

Run that far in four minutes.

In four minutes I can:

Almost sew on a button

Maybe respond to an email

Almost boil an egg

Perhaps  walk 400 metres

But Sir Roger Bannister

Ran

He ran and ran

Til his lungs were bursting

And every tendon

Stretched till he had run

A mile; in less than four.

Breathless

The first man,

Panting

1954

Heart racing

Breaking  the record.

Amazing national hero.

Sir Roger Bannister

Breathed his last.

Yesterday.

Farewell.

 

Words above and picture copyright Englepip©

 

Sir Roger Bannister, a British athletic hero passed away yesterday 3rd March 2018 at the age of 88 years.

He was one of the last true amateur athletes running on a cinder track just outside Oxford. Wikipedia reads:

“In the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Bannister set a British record in the 1500 metres and finished fourth. This strengthened his resolve to be the first 4-minute miler. He achieved this feat on 6 May 1954 at Iffley Road track in Oxford, with Chris Chatawayand Chris Brasher providing the pacing. When the announcer, Norris McWhirter, declared “The time was three…”, the cheers of the crowd drowned out Bannister’s exact time, which was 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. Bannister’s record lasted just 46 days. He had reached this record with minimal training, while practising as a junior doctor.”

 

 

Daily Prompt: The Magic of Fabric

P1350560One of my favourite shops pictured above: Healey & James*

Who could believe that the vibrant red and orange cloths so smooth and soft, began life as animal and plant fibres? That a goat once wore the delicate closely-woven fabric: cashmere wool and that caterpillar spit would make the flimsiest and most prized cloth of all: silk, that the fluff around a seed pod could be made into hardwearing cloth: cotton, or that strands of the flax plant stem could be turned into linen? And the dyes, all products of the animal and plant kingdoms or even synthetic chemicals. It’s like magic.

Haiku 1 Cashmere

Fabric soft against my face

Vibrant cashmere yarn

Pashmina round my shoulders.

Haiku 2: Silk

Diaphanous patterned silk

Slips delicately

Threads of  Eastern moth cocoons

The Fabric shop

Photos and words copyright to Englepip©

 

*Healey & James Textile Merchant, Hartley Park Farm Business Centre, Selborne Rd, Alton GU34 3HS

via Daily Prompt: Fabric