Archives for posts with tag: rhino anthology

 

I have been quietly perusing again the wonderful poetry in For Rhino in a Shrinking World. I think I may share one or two poems from time to time. This one stays with me this evening: it tells its painful truths with an honest delicacy.

Vexed

 

It isn’t sexy, slaughtering the rhino.

Grinding the horn will not make you hard.

Softness does that. Whisper a sweet word.

 

The rest of you pretenders, oil execs, bankers, fiddlers

Bigots, control freaks, honkies; you happiness poachers,

Liars, pretenders – will you be roused?

 

Let the moose and the salmon and the rhino run wild.

Let bombs be knitted by old ladies and growing

Boys. Gouge the clay, pat it into usefulness. Leap from Mars

 

To Inisbofin. Paint your expression purple, your wagon yellow.

Grow a kumquat. Let the rhinos be too sexy for each other.

Let us see every big-footed wrinkle. Softly. Whisper.

 

Mary Mullen

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Thandi2

This is Thandi, the heroic rhino to whom For Rhino in a Shrinking World is dedicated. Her horn was, of course, hacked from her face by poachers.

Since then, I have had both the honour and the despair of watching a rhino darted and de-horned in order to make it less attractive to poachers. Here is my response to that experience.

I wish all rhinos long life, safety and the dignity of living as they are meant to: in the wild and free of human interference.

Chainsaw

I have always hated that sound: it means
death for something, it means devastation,
the hollow shriek of human intrusion.

Now here he is, crumpled on his haunches,
a white rhino bull, too strong, too proud, too
much himself, despite the darts, to go down.

But he’s drugged, masked, pinned: this to save his world.

And clearly he has been through the nightmare
before, though his stunted horn has re-grown.
Now the indignity repeats itself.

Our work’s against the clock, the sedative,
the history; his life depends on us.
So, plenty of cool water – and a chainsaw.

The helicopter’s pilot lounges, smoking,
in his cab as blizzards of horn shavings
surge from the blade like flakes of pale soap,

like the weeping wings of termites or ants,
like butterflies consecrating the grass
beneath the sun’s fire and the chainsaw’s hell.

This is what we’re reduced to: presiding
over the face of our world, cosmetic
surgery or death, improving nothing.

Harry Owen

The annual McGregor Poetry Festival takes place in the beautiful village of McGregor in South Africa’s Western Cape. This year it will be from 27th to 30th August – a late winter treat indeed.

Harry Owen will be performing twice: on Saturday 29th August when he will read his own poetry in an event called ‘Searching – With Dogs!’ and then on Sunday 30th when the focus will be on ‘For Rhino in a Shrinking World’.

Harry will talk about how the international rhino anthology came about and what effect it is having in the battle against rhino poaching. And he will, of course, be reading a selection of the superb poems in the book.

Please come along if you can.

http://mcgregorpoetryfestival.blogspot.com/p/2015-edition.html

 

VI

From fragments, horns, we dream of the unicorn,

fleet footed, ephemeral, fairest of all.

More beautiful still is the wholeness of things;

the slow rhino, pressing his feet into the earth

wirh every step.

 

VII

In the mud at the edge of the waterhole,

the earth and the water are one.

The earth and the water and the rhino

are one.

 

 

Species

 

Sometimes they rise before me in the night,

the lemurs, eyes as bare and bright as moons,

the lizard, older than the afternoon,

the coral’s tender hands which sun bleached white.

Some are immense, the tiger, shot and still,

some thumbnail-sized, like Chile’s emerald frog,

I never saw, and soon, nobody will.

 

Alison Brackenbury

 

Probably the shortest poem in For Rhino in a Shrinking World is also, in my view, one of the most telling.  It manages to condense into a mere thirteen words a message of profound truth and power.

The poem is by the Australian poet Lorne Johnson and is called ‘Nexus’.  Here it is:

 

Nexus

 

Look closely

at each

of your

fingernails.

 

They are

crafted

from

rhino horn.

 

(Lorne Johnson lives close to deep gullies filled with lyrebird song, in New South Wales, Australia.  He teaches English in a Catholic secondary school in Sydney.  Lorne’s poetry has appeared in various Australian journals.)

Success!  

I am absolutely delighted to announce that we have today – World Book Day – received the first consignment of the international anthology For Rhino in a Shrinking World from the publisher, The Poets Printery.  It has been a long and sometimes frustrating wait but I hope you will feel when you see the finished product that it has been worth it.

World Book Day, 23rd April 2013 - the perfect day for the rhino anthology to be born!

World Book Day, 23rd April 2013 – the perfect day for the rhino anthology to be born!

Within the next few days we will begin the process of sending a complimentary copy to each contributor and will also be organising a series of launches, beginning in Grahamstown, South Africa, and spreading to other cities and venues.  So please keep watching this space.

In addition, full information on how to order copies of the book will appear here (and elsewhere!) in due course.

Thank you very much for your patience and support so far: the hard work of spreading the word now begins in earnest.

I have now seen the draft (sample) copy of the anthology and am impressed. Keep an eye on this space during the next few days – there should be good news to report by the end of next week.

I think I owe you all an explanation for the unfortunate delay we have experienced in releasing For Rhino in a Shrinking World.

The anthology was sent by the publisher to the printer some time ago and we expected the book to be available shortly after this. Unfortunately, it then became evident that the shape and design of the book’s cover and spine could not accommodate some of the features we wanted. For example, the font size of the poems inside became much smaller than was acceptable to me if we persisted with the original dimensions. This had to be corrected.

So the book was returned to the designer and we have now made it rectangular (26 x 21cm) rather than square. This has resolved the problem with the font size and we hope that everything is now as it should be. The book has been re-submitted to the printer and I am expecting to have a sample copy in my hands within the next few days.

I can’t tell you how frustrating this has been for all of us, but I am determined that the book will be as beautiful and as fine as it is possible to make it: the delay is annoying but necessary to ensure its quality.

As soon as I have seen and checked the sample copy I shall post here again to let you know where we stand – and I truly hope it will be to say that we’re there!

Thank you once again for your patience and support.

Christmas, it seems to me, is a time for reflection, acknowledgement and gratitude.  So I would like to offer my warmest thanks here to the innumerable people who have, in one way or another, made publication of For Rhino in a Shrinking World possible.  The following is extracted from my Introduction to the anthology:

Almost at once the poems started to arrive – literally hundreds and hundreds of them. People all over the world, some very young or inexperienced as writers, others well known and widely published, clearly were deeply touched by the plight of the rhinos and as sickened and horrified as I had been by Will Fowlds’ eyewitness account, film of which was also made widely available on the Internet.

By the deadline date it had become clear to me that compiling and editing an anthology from so many generous pieces of writing would be a gargantuan task. Many submissions could not, by sheer weight of numbers as much as anything else, find their way into the book – but I wish to put on record my sincere gratitude to all those who wrote and submitted work supporting the rhinos’ cause. Without them this book would not have been possible.

I wish all who have supported us and all who will continue in the coming days to help the rhino and the natural world a truly Happy Christmas and the most uplifting of all New Years.

Thank you all!