I raise my head up off the red dirt ground
To watch the fiery sun go down.
Where once I would sleep soundly in the black depths
To the lions roaring sound,
If we heard the comfort of branches snap and crackle,
We knew the big eles were around.
Now no leopard coughs, no jackal yelps, no hyena sarcastic laugh,
Awake, I cannot lay me down.
All around the vacant silence disturbs me,
This empty silence is not a natural sound.
We climbed the rocky koppies to search in vain,
Where once the great migration filled our gaze.
The scorched ground now barely fertile
Where the blood and bone decays.
There the scant grass grows the sweetest,
Cattle scatter skeletons to graze.
The curse of the charcoal-burners
Infesting the horizon with their smoky haze.
Gone are acacia-thorn and spreading shepherd trees
Under whose shade umbrellas we would laze.
Once we could look across the savannah,
Where the massive herds would parade.
The bribery for trophy permits we would pay
Far more than we would ever dare to tell.
We sent the big tuskers to their grave,
Rhino, lion, leopard - Ah, what the hell!
Anything in our way!
Oh, the hyena and vultures prospered swell!
Now within my massive halls so heavily adorned,
I brag, my courageous tales I tell,
My walls covered with those rare horned,
I got them before their last death knell.
Therein, I rest and slumber oh, so well!