Daily Prompt: At the Waterhole

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They congregate at the waterhole

The young; the old; the grey; the brown

Each overcoming their fears

To slake their thirst in a dry land.

Warily they move forward,

The pressure from the one behind

Urging them forward into vulnerability

Afraid to miss their place in the line

To be overtaken by the lesser

In the pecking order.

Still they move forward

Treading carefully where they can

Listening for something not quite right

For the bark of warning and the grunt

Of the elders, pushing them forward

Into the mud, where hooves will be sucked down

Sucked into the swamp

That surrounds the waterhole

Sucked and stuck so that the lions will

Be bound to have a meal.

Luckily today there is no kill

Luckily today lions already had their fill

Luckily today they lived all day.

But what about tomorrow?

 

Words and photo copyright Englepip©

 

via Daily Prompt: Congregate

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