“Living day by day with elephants, he had absorbed their deeper, more philosophical cues. In fact, he discovered in them the virtues he would work to develop in himself: courage, loyalty, the ability to trust (and the good sense to know when to be distrustful), fairness, patience, diligence, kindness, and humor.”
–Vicki Constantine Croke, “Elephant Company”

Step this way–
sink deep, uncreatured,
into the
mouth entombed
in death—enter the ceaseless
current of slaughter.

overtakes rebirth,
we cannot
remake the magic of earth,
uninculcate ends.

Silver tongues
make promises, kill
what little
is left, drunk
with power—bleeding life out
to termination.

Elephants once roamed in Syria, Turkey, and Iraq. This species became extinct about 100 BC due to overhunting for ivory. This is still a major threat to both elephants and rhinos, along with habitat loss, which includes all the ramifications of climate change. Poachers are looking for ingredients for traditional Asian medicine. Local residents see wild animals as threats, and/or kill them for food when other sources, such as agriculture, disappear due to extreme weather. And of course Western big game hunters love to take home trophies to prove how manly they are.

The Northern White Rhino recently became extinct.

Endangered African primates include the chimpanzee, the gorilla, the bonobo, and the drill. The cheetah is critically endangered, and lions and leopards are also in a vulnerable state.

Other critically endangered African species include the African penguin, the African wild dog, green turtles, pangolins, and hundreds of species of birds.

For earthweal, where Sherry asks us to consider how humans have changed the African landscape. I’ve used words from the Oracle II list generated by Jane this week.

All the art is from previous posts about endangered species. Interestingly, I only found one other poem written to go along with the images. Perhaps it’s because words are inadequate for me in the face of such a huge loss. It’s easier for me to draw or paint or collage my distress.

30 thoughts on “Safari

  1. First, I LOVE your paintings, especially the elephant. You are so talented! Your poem and accompanying notes bring home the magnitude of the loss of the wild world. Humans too distracted to note or care about the carnage. Those of us who do mourn on their behalf. A wonderful post, Kerfe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sherry. I don’t understand how anyone can failed to be distressed about extinction. Like all of our desructiveness, it requires a global strategy to stop it. We seem to be less and less able to work together for good every day.


  2. The words certainly fitted into Sherry’s prompt. We both picked out destruction, the impotence of earth’s magic as themes and the silver tongued killers. So, nothing happened to chase away the despair, then?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a Veterinary Nurse it pains me to see species disappear. There is only so much that can be done as an individual – it will require cooperation and enforcement on governmental and international levels to save what is left of some of the species! I loved the elephant collage and the rhino drawing best but all of them are wonderful!! I suppose I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention that the Oracle provided you with elegant words to express the horror of extinction – an extinction that just might include the human race!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Muri. Jane and I were discussing how appropriate the words were for Sherry’s prompt. I agree humans are digging their own graves at a rapid pace.


  4. “we cannot
    remake the magic of earth,”
    I was listening to Richard Grannon late last night on my phone when sleep was far away. He says that we’ve lost our gods. He said when there are no gods, we place ourselves in that position, and that is the path of extinction, as we are NOT up to the task of “remaking the magic of earth.” how arrogant we are! we’ve been given paradise and what have we done with it

    Liked by 1 person

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