Tuesday, February 8, 2011

God Is Watching Over Us.

   On MatadorU travel writer forum, we've been discussing poetry. As an assignment, I submitted  "Song of the Tui"  and it was well accepted, promoting a discussion about how few travel writers are giving poetry a go. Now I did not set out to write poetry. Far from it. But I have come to the conclusion that often poetry can convey ideas, images and impressions where a narrative can be lacking, or without appropriate feeling. I guess the essence of what I'm saying is that poetry conveys 'soul'. So I'm re-publishing this poem I wrote when I started this blog. It means a lot to me, as it sums up a very personal experience at N/a'an Kuse' wildlife sanctuary in July 2009, where Kay and I met our daughters Emma and Elissa for 2 weeks as volunteers.
The animals written about are real; their stories related here are true.



         
 My trip review of Namibian Wildlife Sanctuary, N/a'an Kuse'.




I was wandering,
I was wandering alone
longing for roots of my own.
There was no place,
no place where I could roam.
Is there no one could give me a home?

N/a'an Kuse', N/a'an Kuse'.



I was shaking,
I was shaking with fear,
caught in this poacher's wire snare.
I was screaming,
I was screaming out in despair.
Is there no one, no one to hear?

N/a'an Kuse', N/a'an Kuse'
God is watching over us.


I was praying,
I was praying today,
please keep all my children safe.
For taking that calf for my family,
My life's forfeit, we're just vermin anyway.

N/a'an Kuse', N/a'an kuse'.
God is watching over
God is watching over us
Namibian Wildlife Sanctuary.

                             N/A’AN KU SÊ is San or Bushman for "God is watching over us."



First verse is written from the perspective of lions who cannot return to Etosha as the park reckons they (5 ) will upset pride dynamics in the park. These orphans, now fully grown, are living in huge enclosures at Na'an Kuse, as an alternative to them being shot. Why is there no room in the wild for them?

Second verse is for Big Mama, a baboon. She had already lost a foot in a poacher's wire snare. When she came to the Sanctuary, Big Mama had another snare partially embedded in her flesh around her belly. Soon after she arrived, she gave birth. Now Big Mama is undisputed boss of all 17 baboons. She's an amazing creature.

Third verse reflects the feelings of a cheetah mother, whose 4 cubs were caught in a farmer's trap. He incarcerated them in a pit under the trap, for 4 days hoping to lure her back in to kill her. When 1 died of pneumonia, he relented, rang the sanctuary and they came into their care. But mother cheetah had to abandon her cubs, or be shot!

Hope you guys like it. First poem I have ever written.

Sorry about no pictures of Big Mama, the baboon. We were too scared to even point a camera her way!
But a beautiful animal, completely in control of the baboon troop. And easy with us, as long as we didn't mess her around. She's an awesome creature, and I grew to admire her.

N/A’AN KU SÊ is Bushman for "God is watching over us."

http://www.naankuse.com/

 

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17 comments:

Jorie Pacli said...

Oh Jim, what can I say? It's a beautifully invented poem by you. Well done! Now what's the meaning of Na/'an Kuse?

Healing Morning said...

Jim, you are living such a rich life with your travels. I truly enjoy visiting here and taking a virtual tour of all these exotic places through your eyes and words. I enjoyed the poetry, even though each stanza was heartwrenching in its own way. That means your words have impact, my friend. I would say that as far as writing exercises go, this one was a success for you!

Namaste',

Dawn

Jim said...

Hi Dawn and Jorie, yes travel does enrich our lives. But we try and give a wee bit back also. Naankuse is such a special place doing so much to protect wildlife I felt this poem I wrote early last year needed to speak again.

alejandro guzman said...

And you accuse me of knowing how to write poetry!

You are so right! Loved it thanks Jim...

Cheers A

Last post- I Don't Like School

Red Nomad OZ said...

Great poem! LOVE it!! And so powerful - have you sent it to Naankuse??

Happy travels!!

Roy Durham said...

jim he is watching over you and all you survey and in the poem you wrote, you are bless.

Jim said...

Thanks Alejandro, from knowing you, you also have the soul to write good poetry.

Yes Red, sent it off to them. Needs to be set to music and have the Bushman kids singing back up and chorus.

Roy, strangely just 2 days ago , the thought ocurred that I should re-publish that poem. It was the 3rd post on this site 12 months ago, but had always been my favourite. So after I re-posted it, I checked the dates and it was almost exactly 12 months ago I published it. So birthday for this site today, so I think it appropriate to re-post this poem for the anniversary.

Debra said...

Jim, this is a blessed, blessed poem. You give voice to the wandering lion…. fearful Big Mama caught in a wire poacher’s snare… cheetah mom resigned to captivity, all the while praying to keep her children safe, lamenting the loss of a child. A poignant work Jim. Bravo!

Jim said...

Thanks Debra, glad you caught the 'soul' of the prose. Poetry was so appropriate for the subject as to try and convey the sames images and feelings of those animals, and the underlying eco issues, would have been a long, intricate and probably uninteresting article.

Jessica M said...

Naankuse is a blessing to animals that would surely perish without those who have opened their hearts to the plight of sentient creatures. Beautiful poem. I'm a vegetarian and have strong views against animal cruelty...I love your heart for animals...they are blessed to have you as their advocate.

sweepyjean said...

Very nice, Jim! As you know, I agree that poetry can pinpoint a feeling in a more succinct way than prose can. Here, you became the animals and helped us feel what they must feel. Beautiful!

Kriti said...

Very heartfelt Jim! What a moving experience - wish I could write poetry myself -

sulekkha said...

What a beautiful Poem Jim, there are all kinds of people in this world.some are cruel like the hunters and poachers who harm the defenseless animals and some kind-hearted great human beings like you, who understand the animals pain. Thanks for this lovely poem..god bless

Jim said...

Yes Sweepyjean, if you knew those animals and their life, then becoming them was the only way of writing about them.Thanks.
Kriti and Sulekha, my wife Kay, and daughters Emma and Elissa also shared in this experience. Those 3 women in my life have hearts of gold , teaching me new ways every day.

Rekha said...

Heartfelt and moving coupled with the pictures...w e progress by sweeping everything on our way and wildlife is the biggest victim of our greed.

Jenny said...

Jim, what a heartfelt and heart moving post. You are quite excellent at poetry.

Jim said...

Thanks Jenny and Rekha, your encouragement is really appreciated. And if you pop back over here for coffee on Sunday onwards I'll have something else for you.