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Poems inspired by Africa
Poetic musings courtesy of a friend of Africa, Herb Windolf
Phil Berry leading a walking safari from Kuyenda in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Bush Walking on safari
I have been on treks through Africa’s bush,
across her savannas, along her rivers and such.
The guide in the lead,
his charges single file in tow,
sometimes a guard with a rifle ahead of the row.
Along the walk you never know
what to expect or what you’ll see.
Cape buffalo may hide in the bush,
a hippo may just leave a pond,
elephants beside a tree. may stand.
Benign it is to meet an impala herd,
to come across some elephant turds,
its cellulose still food for termites makes.
This is an experience I wouldn’t miss,
to be part of the wilds,
knowingly vulnerable, it is.
For there, too, are lions,
You just never know.
do enjoy this experience
but remain on your toes,
as everyone who has taken a bush walk knows.
Supper on the banks of the Zambezi
Supper on the Zambezi
Canoeing the Zambezi River with our guide,
his young wife and some helpers
driving a trail by the river,
set up camp every night.
For three days we paddled,
passing hippos aplenty.
Each evening we found respite
and a shower close nearby.
One night was special,
forever to behold.
Not far from the river
our table was set
with all the accoutrements
of civilization one expects.
The mighty, gnarled tree
under which we dined
held civilization and the wilds entwined.
And on the waters
moon light reflected,
joined by a streak of Venus shine.
On the opposite bank a hyena cackled,
while we eleven in comfort dined.
Some people may see this in a different light,
that it was no adventure
but “safari light.”
Yet I remember it
as a magical night.
Olduvai Gorge is one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world and has been instrumental in furthering the understanding of early human evolution.
Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania
There is this place in Africa,
a gorge called Olduvai.
East of Tanzania’s Serengeti
right in the Great Rift Valley.
The Leakey’s called it ‘Mankind’s Cradle’,
there finding many human bones. –
Well, back in nineteen-eighty-five,
we safaried there and more,
stood at the lip of this great gorge,
a local guide told of its lore.
There stood this man, in threadbare suit,
and ‘lectured’ to us three.
He’d worked the digs down there himself,
with the Kenyan, Louis Leakey.
This very year I had obtained my anthropology degree,
and now I heard this black man’s talk
as good as at any university!
Then, when we parted and said “thanks”,
I told him;
“In the final consequence,
we sure must all be Africans!”