Poems by howe-thatcher
HUNTER AND HUNTED.
In the shimmering heat of Africa’s sun,
Where life and death, since time’s begun
Is nature’s game - it’s always the same,
A pitiless place for the halt or the lame.
>From the calm, cool shady Acacia Thorn,
Sandy regalia, majestically worn.
Supremely confident, indifferent, arrogant.
Through yellow eyes, insolent, malevolent,
The ruler surveys his dominion.
Dispassionately rolling selective dice
At the feet of one, unaware of the choice,
Who’ll pay the price, a sacrifice.
In the endless cycle of kill and be killed,
An innocent browser, whose life will be spilled,
For a place on the banqueting board,
Of the family, the pride of the savannah Lord.
In the shimmering, stifling African sun,
They grazed, at peace, on grass, hard won
>From earth, cracked dry, before the rain
Returns, to revive the dormant plain.
Calm in the care, of a wise old bull,
Who’d survived many seasons, avoiding a kill.
The relaxed herd grazed, though alert for danger,
When the King killed for food, not from petulant anger.
This bull knows by instinct that peril’s abroad,
When observing a sign to the pride from the lord,
That the time has come to feast again,
When he orders a killing in his domain.
But now, safe in the canopied thorn where he rested.
The king, lay asleep, as his meal he digested.
And the graceful gazelle, grazing their fill,
Forgot the temporary truce.
They moved nearer and nearer still, until,
Almost overcome by sleepy languor,
And lulled by his somnolent pose,
They tested his patience, barely skirting
His resting place, recklessly flirting,
They provoked the lordly anger.
Alarmed at this show of foolish disdain,
The old bull stamped his foot in the dust on the plain.
He snorted dire warning to those in danger,
Stupidly trying the lordly temper.
They take heed from their feed and they back off,
In a lazily, loping, carefree canter.
On a rocky outcrop, hidden from sight,
A cringing watcher grins his delight.
Anticipation drips from slavering lips,
He knows at the end of the great natural drama,
Taking place in the forefront in wide panorama.
Once the king and his brood have eaten their fill,
His share is assured from the bounteous kill.
>From his position of safety, the craven coward
Giggles softly, while watching the moving crowd.
If he, servile and fawning, stays out of the way,
Biding his time, he will eat today,
When the king and his kin renew their urge
To feed off death the result of their purge.
Darkening the sky, a shadow of doom
Soars, gracefully riding a thermal wind.
Circling, watching, black cloak outstretched,
Feathered fingers fluttering, never at rest.
Clawing the air, staying aloft, till the time is best
To wing down and claim a disgusting share,
>From the stinking craven coward,
Reluctant to share the food,
Unwanted by the king and his brood.
In the shimmering, searing African sun,
The time of the doe has come.
With barely a flicker of eyes all aglitter,
The master signals his harem and litter.
For the hunt to proceed, with lightening speed,
Carried out by mothers turned killer.
With soft, furry paws, hiding rapier claws,
Unsheathed for strategic attack.
A dusty whirlwind affray,
Where three mothers bring down their prey,
Slashing throat, whilst breaking back.
While they eat the repast the coward slinks by,
Unleashing his loud manic laughter,
Which is clearly heard, by the circling bird,
Who with a hop and a skip and a hunch-backed waddle,
Swoops down, to land, obscenely and squabble,
For his rightful chance to feed,
At the royal banqueting table.
The king has eaten, the hunt is done.
With his pride, he retires from the sun,
To the shade of the Thorn
Where they’ll sleep till the next time,
Their hunger drives them on.
So, the scabrous, scavenging breed,
Who follow the hunt for their feed.
Also have place in the order of things.
They clean up when feasting is done,
In the shimmering heat of Africa’s sun
ORDER AT LAST
By Richard Thatcher
Stretch to infinity.
Sad white sentinels stand
Motionless on parade,
Substitutes for those that lie there.
After battlefield turmoil,
Order at last.
Mad Discotheque Season.
Whirling, Swirling, Spinning, Dancing.
Kaleidoscopic colours lancing.
Brown and beige and yellow flashing,
Background passing, dizzy slashing.
Across the vision a heaving ocean
Of wild, erratic, trancelike motion
Of dancers. Planted feet but swaying,
Bending, straining, edges fraying
To untamed sounds of banshee shrieking.
To the wild dictates of discordant freaking
In frenzied pursuit of conformity
With natures plan. The huge enormity
Of Autumn’s onslaught, to foreshadow
The softly snow bound buried keep
Of Winter season’s resting sleep.
Calmer now the roaring slows.
Abruptly ceases, gently flows,
Down timber aisles, once displayed
With raiment bright on proud parade
But now disrobed. Doomed to fade
Exhausted, as the year has ended,
Tasks fulfilled, as nature intended.
Of birth and growth, extreme endeavour
Preordained each year forever.
So, blow you winds in wild disorder.
Repeat the discotheque in order
To clear the trees. Let Autumn breeze
Herald in the Winter’s freeze.
The time of rest for nature
To renew herself. Resume her stature.
Richard Thatcher 1999.
A celebration of renewal.
By Richard Thatcher.
Lip service to the custom
Of the debt owed,
By the many
To the few so cruelly sacrificed,
Now barely remembered.
So we’re urged to remember,
To prevent a repeat
Of the carnage
Wrought in the name of justice.
For that alone, please don’t forget.
I’m cajoled by perceived obligation,
Each year on eleven, eleven,
To join you in remembrance.
Where you recall them as they were,
Whilst I have naught but spectres.
I mean no disrespect
To the comrades that I lost,
But please let me still try
To forget this filth, this insane degradation
Tattooed on my mind.
So please forgive me if,
This year I forgo my duty.
And crawl into my safe corner,
To hide away my fears,
And forget, forget, forget.
Shocked as a blindfold man,
Smacked in the face
By a door left open,
Ajar in a darkened place.
You say, “The big ‘C’?”
I ask, “Who me?”
No! That’s not me.
It’s a ghastly mistake, you see.
So tell me please! It definitely cannot be me.
A paltry pinprick of pain,
And a tiny trivial lump. That was all I came to question.
But I’m fit and strong,
So you’ve got to be wrong.
So you see, it’s not me. There’s no ‘Big C’
You’re the one who’s made a mistake.
So it really is true?
Oh Lord! What must I do?
Show me how to put up a fight,
To win this war in my body and rid myself of this blight,
That’s not really me, so must I accept it’s true?
I’m in the Hospice now,
Facing the facts, I bow
To life’s random, chancy game,
That’s casual, indifferent, careless of aim,
Cruelly casting the dice, and making me choose,
Daring me to risk to win or to lose.
There’s life in me yet. It’s only a spark,
Kept bright by hope and kindness.
In this blessed place, who knows it may kindle
And bring forth a flicker of flame
To let me live, or die in peace,
With dignity linked to my name.
Tranquil now, I’ve learned to accept
The cards dealt to me in life’s trial.
And all I have left is a prayer, “Oh Lord,
Give me strength, to win the battles I can,
And at those that I can’t, just smile.”
Biographical sketch: I am ex-army (Rhodesia now known as Zimbabwe)
Retired and partially disabled. Nothing to do all day except write.
Trying both poetry and prose.
Rudyard Kipling-Military related by Rudyard Kipling
Reason: Wide variety of subjects - Brevity of description
and Authors ability to involve reader
in his thoughts and emotions
Recommendations for writers:
Truth. Don't try to impress with intellectual claptrap. Write as
YOU feel rather than as you think others might want you to feel