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

Darkness falling

And a  harsh cough

Echoing from the hills.