Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Morning On The Serengeti

So come ona my house
My house
My house
So come ona my house
And I’m a gonna give you candy
(Rosemary Clooney)

I am so close
To the finish line now
That I can almost
Taste it
I am not the same person
That I was when
I began this marathon run
To the finish line
In my memory
It seems that
I have been running
All of my life
For the past 64 years
Since birth
Run Forrest! Run!

Running the marathon
Has been all that I can ever
Remember doing
There is an African Proverb
That says that
Whether you are the lion
The jackal
Or the hare
Once the sun comes up
On the Serengeti
You had better be off and running
Running from danger
Running to avoid becoming
Someone else’s dinner
Running to put some food
On your family’s dinner table

After all
Everyone alive
Every living thing
Has a right to eat
A right to having a decent meal
To ward off starvation
Sickness and disease

The universal law of the universe
Is that all must eat or die
All must either kill
Or be killed
In order to eat

If we are too squeamish
To do the needed killing ourselves
We hire surrogates, others
To do the killing for us
In the name of the father
The son
And the Holy Ghost
Either that
Or we all end up as
French toast

So we all have to get up
And out
And we all have to run
Life’s little marathon
And we all have to put up
With the many ironies and obstacles
That block our way

Or not

There are always some
Who may fall by the wayside
Through no fault of their own
Some who are
Either too tired or too weak
Or too sick
Or too physically handicapped
To continue to make the
Enormous effort that is required
To survive this epidemic called
Where the universal law
Seems to be
That all who are born
Must also eventually die

This is a law from which
There is no reprieve
No commutation
No postponement

One may protest
One may attempt to
File an appeal
Asking for
Begging for
An extension or
A continuation

But such an outcome
Is not to be
So it is better to begin life
Run Forrest! Run!

Of course
It goes without saying that
Many of the marathoners
Do drop out of the race
For as many reasons
As there are runners

Some drop out because
They just quit
Or because they are simply
Too tired to go on any farther
Or because
They have lost heart!
Some drop out because
They no longer have the strength
Of body or spirit to continue

They are the ones
That society calls
The dropouts
The losers
The expendable ones
The poor
The sick
The halt
The lame
The blind
The ill
The homeless
The mentally ill
The mentally incompetent
The undesirables
The quitters
The hopeless
The addicted
The conflicted

Now it is Midnight on the Serengeti
For many the protective darkness
Provides a much needed chance to rest
For others the cover of night
provides yet another opportunity
To hunt and kill their prey
For others the darkness offers
One last chance to dream

But soon enough
The early morning light returns
And the long night at last
Begins to fade

And already the multitudinous
Flocks of every specie of bird
Of geese
Of duck
Along with scores of flocks of
Long necked pink flamingoes
Numbering in their tens of thousands
Have broken and taken flight

At the first stirrings
Of newly renewed life
The lioness
Hiding in the tall grass
Calls in low bellows
To the bevy of sister cats
And their new born cubs
That make up her pride

She is not yet ready to run
She pants and licks her paws
While her royal mate
Regally lifts his magnificent head
To half yawn
Half roar
To acknowledge
That it is once again morning
On the plains of the Serengeti
Reminding one and all
That the chase for survival
Must begin again

The lionesse watches keenly
As a flock of game hens
Break from cover
And head straight
For the water
Where the hippos and
Water buffalo
And crocodiles
Are waiting to greet them

Some of the wilderbeast
And spotted gazelle
Have already gathered to drink

It is morning on the Serengeti once again
And all of the great marathoners
Of every species
Must again
Get ready
To run
Whether they want to
or not

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment