Archives for posts with tag: rhino poetry

 

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.)