A RHINO'S TALE. ©
A poem by Caroline Street.
I was born at midday,
Under the shady Umbrella Tree.
Filtered sunlight, like warm hay
Brought life to a newly born me.
The soft green grass,
Was my cushion of welcome.
That first sweet taste
Of mother's milk,
Brought strength to a frail young me.
A soft nudge from Mom,
Was all the encouragement needed,
To raise me to my feet.
I was born into freedom
In the animal kingdom.
For the next few days,
Life was spent in an idyllic haze
And contented closeness to my mother.
'Food on tap' and protection was my safe cover.
Her bulk, a constant warm comfort,
Guardian to my fragility and innocence.
Nights were spent under the moon,
Days foraging for food.
Grass and sand our daily diet,
Under the sun's bright light.
An existence designed entirely for us,
The life of a Rhino.
A thundering explosion broke the silence,
My terror filled senses on defense.
Mom lay broken -
Her lifeblood seeped into the dry, hot earth.
Mortally wounded, she moaned in agony,
The bullet that struck her had been deadly,
Her cries now of sorrow and impending death.
The murderers came, black and white,
And in their guilty haste,
To prevent capture and sight,
Crudely hacked off mom's great horns -
Her protection and pride.
Amid her struggles of protest
They did not care for her pain, only their gain.
This all took place under the Umbrella Thorn,
The place where I was born.
I, incredibly was left unharmed,
Visibly shaken with shock and horror,
I stared at the mutilated body
Of my once great mother.
Caring humans came to my rescue
And put me in their care.
Hand reared and bottle-food
Was my daily fare.
I grew up nourished and strong,
And in my pride I was returned
To my natural habitat, the bushveld.
Like mother like daughter,
I was vital and strong.
My pride, my horns before me.
I made my home under the Umbrella Thorn tree.
It was a great day of excitement
When I found my mate,
For to live as a Rhino
I must procreate.
A calf was due to me,
Days were spent in heavy pregnancy.
My life complete and happy now.
The past I finally put to rest,
With just happy thoughts of mom in my head.
My calf was born as free as me,
Under the warm African sun,
In the shade of the Umbrella Thorn,
On the plains where mother died,
The land to which the Rhino is historically tied.
A new life of hope and peace had arrived,
Or was this just a wishful thought.
The remembered explosion of the gun,
In disbelief my mind was stunned.
My newly born calf,
In her sweet innocence lay dead,
Her lifeblood staining the earth red.
A second explosion shattered the air,
The bullet aimed at my head.
As I lay injured on the ground,
My horns, the poacher's prize, were hacked off.
The pain too much for my body to sustain,
Death was my final gain.
And so my species has been wiped out,
Obliterated from this land.
The Rhino will no longer give birth,
No offspring will inhabit the earth.
Once again man's greed has prevailed,
But in the larger scheme of life
They have completely failed.
What God entrusted to man
Through disrespect and greed of the land,
Has been taken away
And will no longer see another day.
PO BOX 304 SEA POINT 8060
CAPE TOWN SOUTH AFRICA