Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Rhino Speaks

I was going to start off by saying ‘Last year…’, but I just did a quick check and the text reads, “First published – February 2013”, so that’s two years ago. Two years ago. Already. Already the first month of the new year over. Just like that! Sigh!

But, as usual, I digress. Two years ago, a poem of mine was selected for an international anthology called, “For Rhino in a Shrinking World”, edited by poet Harry Owen. Recently, we were informed about a lovely review that came out in which my poem was mentioned. Some of my friends have requested me to share the poem. Now being the good friend that I am, how can I not oblige?

So here it is. My poem, “The Rhino Speaks.” And below, the link to the review.

THE RHINO SPEAKS

The Rhino Speaks

Sit down,
o stranger-with-a-gun,
and let me talk to you.
Before you render me
one with the dust again,
you must know me.

Did you know,
for example,
that in my next life
I would like to be me again?

What do you see
when you see me?
Am I only this lock of matted hair
upon my nose?
But I am so much more;
if only you would open your eyes
and look.
These wrinkled folds of skin
hold ancient secrets of this land;
of those who walked before
and how it came to be.
The dust of the Kalahari,
the sand of the Sahara,
even the seeds of the acacia tree
and drops of great Savannah rain,
all live within
these wrinkled folds of skin.
The Congo
and the Nile
flow from each eye;
these eyes hold memories
of this land
where my family,
once in plenty
and in multitudes,
roamed wild,
free
and in peace –
before you came,
o stranger-with-a-gun.

Yes.
I should like to come back as me
in my next life
and the life after that.
But for that,
you have to let me live.
and thrive
and just be.

What will you tell your children,
o stranger-with-a-gun,
when I am gone?
Will you build monuments in my likeness
and name parks after me?
You cannot grind my bones for bread
or use my hide for designer shoes,
belts
and bags.
You cannot drink my blood
and yet you spill it,
o stranger-with-a-gun.

I am not scared of you,
you know.
I am scared for you.
Your scarring,
warring,
killing ways
will one day,
swallow you whole.

Kill me now,
for I know that
that is what you intend to do.
You are not stronger than me;
Simply blood-thirsty
and greedy.

I just know,
that in my next life,
I would like to be me again.
Yes.
I should like to return
again
and again
and again
until the last gunshot
has felled me to the ground.

But imagine,
o stranger-with-a-gun,
if in my next life,
I should come back as you…
and
you
as
me.

***********************************************************************

http://plumwoodmountain.com/moira-sheppard-reviews-for-rhino-in-a-shrinking-world-edited-by-harry-owen/

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