Poems and photos from Africa trip

While I’ve been awaiting comments on my novel from my beta readers I’ve been editing poems and gathering photos to illustrate the poems from our trip to Africa last summer. I know I have a long way to go, but I thought I’d try a few out on you. Your comments are most welcome. And I hope you enjoy the photos.

 

IMG_0152Boni

A young person greets us at the airport
in a light blue and red
two-piece dress and hair
tied in long tight braids
at the back of his neck.
So many beads in primary colors
adorn his head, neck, wrists, and fingers,
at first I think he is a girl.
He introduces himself
as our guide Boni,
as he drives us to the lodge.
He will lead our game tours
during our stay in Kenya’s Samburu district,
promising we’ll see this area’s big five:
lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and lions.

Boni’s forte is tracking.
As he drives he looks out
the right side of our truck
for footprints and fresh dung
on the bumpy red dirt roads,
clues to which animals
we’re most likely to see.
He also looks through
his monocular
to check in and under the trees,
and relies on his short wave radio
for sighting news.
When other guides
spot an elephant family
or pride of lions
he races to the spot
so we can click and gawk.

Boni kept his promise
We saw the big Samburu five
and way way more.

 

IMG_1090Meeting of The Minds at the Mara River

Hundreds of zebra and wildebeest
march toward the Mara River
in long straight lines.
Their mission, to cross over
to the wet side, as they do
every six months or so.

They step to water’s edge
stop, look down, and watch
as one lone zebra gets in
and makes it across
after kicking its heel
out of a waiting crocodile’s mouth.

The others discuss
in shriek-y honks, hooves kicking up
dust on the ground
about when and at which point
along the river’s edge
they’ll gather enough nerve
to take the chance to go.

They don’t speak the same language
yet, heads nod in agreement
as they walk en masse in one direction
then to the other,
deciding which is the safest spot
to outwit the crocs watching their prey.

A few zebras, the nominal leaders,
step toward water’s edge.
They turn, they walk back and forth,
back and forth, the others follow.
They return to starting point one,
and stop to wait out the crocs again.

 

IMG_1348Red Dust

I’m satisfied
on this last day of Safari.
I’ve seen more animals and birds
than I ever dreamed – many more
than Noah could ever board in his ark.
The geography varied
in each place we visited
from bumpy hills
with bare trees in Samburu,
a vast plain with little vegetation
called the Savannah at the Masai Mara,
rolling greens covered with dense rocks
and thunderstorms every evening on the Serengeti,
bright sun and hot dry air in Lake Manyara,
and now at our last place
the Ngorongoro Crater
with soil and trees and wind-blown red dust
that covers all of me –
inside and out.

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