In the country where these live
Thorn bushes scratch the sun
And the light is white with pain.
Travelling there it is a mistake
To fall in love with leopards.
Beyond my sand-stuck vehicle
Just off the track
I find dramatic spoor
And read the tale of how
The topi crossed the path
Was leapt upon, how the fangs
Sank deep and the dying beast
dragged through the sparse green grass
To lie in terraced rocks below the cliff.
Baboons in fear still shout and crouch
Nodding at me queer Neanderthal messages
Peering about at shadows.
Guinea fowl now squat on dusty sand
Blinking mindlessly at the sun
A soft breeze obliterates the story.
We busy ourselves with shovels
Disinterring slow reluctant wheels
And a harsh cough
Echoing from the hills.