In praise of donkeys

Four-legged beast of burden
Rough-haired or smooth
Piebald, brown or dun
Long-eared and skinny-tailed
Capturer of our hearts,
Nudging at our pockets
And snuffling for a carrot.
Baring teeth when moody
And singing your own song
Loudly braying and laughing
At the human it does not want to please.
Beast of burden
Reliable until that point
When stubborn will intercedes
And nothing will move him.
Jack the father
Jenny the mother
Led by man for 5000 years
Bearer of Christ and His mother
And a cross to prove it.
And now beach companion
On a summer’s day in Europe
Fun to be with,
Loving, faithful, knowing friend.


Words and photos copyright Englepip©

Daily Prompt: Cheetah

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Somehow I knew you would come

The premonition tingled in my brain

Like a scratching at the base of my skull

Saying wait: it will happen; something special.

 

Too long spent in the truck, travelling the dirt roads

Concentrating the eye on distant shadows

Which turned out to be termite mounds.

 

Thirsty, hot, tense and tired

Eyes clouded with dust

Turn back they said; enough

And as we turned

I knew. I knew to stop

And we did.

 

Maybe I could hear it in the silence of the bush

Primeval senses scenting  you on the wind.

Or maybe your spirit met with mine

Your fierce dominance stealing into my heart.

 

For suddenly there you were;

You and your cubs.

A regal mother; a proud mother

Marshalling  your offspring

For parade.

 

We sat in stillness, afraid to break the magic

Admiring the closeness of the moment

And they gambled round your paws

Mewing  for attention.

 

A signal from you and they stepped in line

As you leapt upon the bonnet of the truck

Meeting my eye; a moment of blind trust

A nod at the spirit that joined us.

 

And so we sat

Motionless

Until you had scouted the horizons

And we our fill of the thrill

Of this closeness.

 

And suddenly, with alacrity, you were down,

With a last salute to our shared moment,

Your tear-marked face and waving tail

Commanded your little troop

To move off to do battle with the night.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Taking aim, I took a shot

And clicked.

For memories are held in such photos.

 

Photo from a live screenshot via Africam. Words and shot copyright to Englepip©

Although the above photo is from a screenshot, the incident itself is based on truth. We were travelling in Samburu National Park, Kenya when I had  a premonition which persuaded us to stop after a tiring day. I knew we were about to see something very special – what – I did not know, but this moment will stay with me forever. Unfortunately my camera work at the time was not successful but I can still see the whole thing in my mind and I was so fortunate to see this cheetah and its cubs on a live camera on Africam.

via Daily Prompt: Premonition

Daily Prompt: Game Ranger

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The bush creaks with the sounds of dryness.

The dust rises beneath our feet.

It seems impossible in this desert

That any animals can survive

And yes we have seen them;

The browsing giraffes and the

Klipspringer, mountain antelope,

And if there are ungulates, there are

Carnivores.

How many times have you seen

Lion in this remote location of

Mapungubwe? Many.

Right here where we are standing?

Right here? Where you are standing.

The rifle is real. It is for

protection from wild creatures

And more especially wild

Poachers,

The scourge of the bush,

The lame human beings persuaded

To kill for a pittance

So that the rich corruptors can

‘Make a kill’ at their expense

And at the cost of a life

The life of a dying out beast.

I carry a rifle.

You feel safe.

We gain courage.

We watch carefully

Every movement in the bush

And our eyes never rest for long

Between the rifle and the trees

And even the stones

Which have a habit of turning

Into something else if you do not yet

Know how to look.

The heat pervades our skin;

We feel malaise.

It is time to retreat from this

Ancient, rocky outcrop

And seek the breeze of a

Moving Land Rover.

 

Words and photo copyright to Englepip ©

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Courage

Daily Prompt: Night time safari

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At first, the darkness of Africa is dense and dreadful

But for the stars above; pinpricks in the velvet night

There is no moon and the echoing  bark of a nyala

Gives warning; there is movement in the bush.

Senses alert, my spine tingles in anticipation

The screech of a nagapie carries on the breeze

Like the doleful cry of an injured child

And I am mindful to resist the temptation

To run wildly into the inky black,  to its rescue.

We sit and we wait; the cicadas, chirp

A constant whistling buzz; mosquitoes whine

A smell of damp earth, and fear.

And then we hear it, a rustle of leaves

A rumble in the darkness that vibrates within.

There it is again from the other side.

And slowly, shapes come lumbering out

From the bush to the waterhole – and I can see

Grey shapes conjured in a grey landscape

Lumbering large but oh so quietly

Dipping trunks into the liquid ink of the pool.

A snort, and the dripping back of water

And a noise like an emptying sink as

They gurgle the water deep into their throats

And the tiny elephants keeping safe

Under their mothers’ legs obeying the signals

Be discreet; be wary; keep close

And in a moment they shrink into the darkness

And are gone. Magic of the night in Africa.

 

It is sometime since I have been on a night safari but the sounds and eeriness stay with me. Waiting beside a waterhole, anything can turn up. I remember feeling very vulnerable parked in a broken old open-topped Land Rover with a  guide with an old rifle  our own protection! Of course it is very dark when the moon is out and that is so much in contrast to Europe and yet once your eyes get used to it, you can see shapes and when the moon shines it can be quite clear. The guides have a searchlight but that does disturb the night life – better to wait and listen and watch.

The picture is a screen capture from a site I often visit, Africam.

Words copyright Englepip©

via Daily Prompt: Conjure

Daily Prompt: The Giraffe

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Don’t be puzzled at my jigsaw coat.

It’s strange but it works for me.

I’m an ungulate mammal,

Who roams  the plains

From Niger right down to the South.

My neck is the longest

You’re likely to see

I can reach up high and down low.

My legs,  any supermodel would admire,

And I can run fast cross the plains.

 

But there is a problem:

When I want a drink,

I have to shrink

To reach down, there’s only one way

Keep watch: take care

And then spread them away

And trust there’re no predators around.

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My eyes and eyelashes are large and brown

With a softness and warmth that’s endearing:

I am curious too, looking at you,

In fact to humans, I seem quite alluring.

Yet do you all know what you’re losing

As our habitats you are abusing?

We have  six species but some are endangered

Or vulnerable and fragile in numbers.

Though we’re large in size – extremely tall,

It doesn’t mean we will survive.

In Africa fewer than elephants wild

We need  you to realise now.

Save our habitat please ;

Please find out how

Do you really want to lose us?

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Words and photos copyright by Englepip ©

 

Giraffe numbers have fallen nearly 40% since the 1980s and by 95% in some areas.

For more information on giraffes click here

via Daily Prompt: Puzzled

Daily Prompt: Deer by Coincidence

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Was it by coincidence

that as I walked across the field

you popped out of the yellow haze?

Was it meant to be for you to see me and I,  you?

That look of discomfort and yet exquisite interest

Caught my attention

And made me look into those deep, brown eyes

With a new understanding of gentleness.

And when you saw me

Did you know

I held a camera, not a gun?

Did looking into my eyes allow you to

See that not all humans seek blood?

Did a small spark of mutual understanding

Jump  between us,

In that moment,

In that field of yellow?

Was it a coincidence or was it meant to be?

 

Photo by Englepip©

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Coincidence