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Passions in Poetry

Conversation with a Burchell Zebra Foal and His Mama

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OwlSA
Member Rara Avis
since 11-07-2005
Posts 8424
Durban, South Africa


0 posted 12-01-2005 02:50 PM       View Profile for OwlSA   Email OwlSA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions  View IP for OwlSA

Conversation with a Burchell Zebra Foal and His Mama
30 March 2002

Little zebra,
I came across you
in a sunny clearing in the forest
you, your mama, and another.

At first I stood and talked
as I have always done
to other zebras at other times …
not knowing …
not knowing what was shimmering on the edge of my universe.

Perhaps it was because I spoke to all of you at first,
though the third was more interested in grazing
and didn’t reply at all,
but Mama listened, assessing me,
and somehow I felt her approval and friendship
and a bonding of mothers.

It was as though she felt it good manners
on my part
not just to charm her baby without
announcing myself and my intentions.
I told her of her beauty
and that Burchell zebras
are my favourites,
and somehow she sensed
that every word I said was true.
I told her how exquisite
her little foal was,
not newborn, but just old
enough to scratch his ear
with his hindhoof
and how adorable that was
but how I was concerned that
Little One may have had earmites,
but then I repeated to her
the voices of my education
which told me that was not an issue
for wild animals
particularly zebras
and she listened to all this
with interest,
twitching each ear independently
in reply
as you did too,
listening to every word.
And I turned to you
and told you how clever you were
and by then, Mama was totally at ease
and I swelled with pride and love and gratitude
for Mama’s trust
and she replied with more ear twitches
and placid deep gaze eyes
and grazed in the summer sun,
trusting,
and gradually
it was mostly you I was talking too,
for the more I talked, the more you listened,
enraptured at my voice
and the tales I told,
Arabian Nights for Zebra Foals,
and Mama listened still
but in the background
as though trusting you too
to know the lessons she’d taught.

I told you how your stripes
flowed up into your mane,
and said for you to know
how smart that looked
to look at Mama’s mane -
and she looked up from her grazing
for a moment.
I told you how God gave you your beautiful stripes
of black and white and shadow brown
in love
as camouflage
in dappled light
to guard you from danger
and you listened and twitched an ear.

I told you of Flicka, my horse,
and details of how horses are different
and of how they are the same
and you twitched your ears
and held your head at times
on one side as though amazed.

We talked and talked and talked
and the sun warmed our different backs
and then the moment came …

You took a few steps towards me
on little zebra feet.
I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven.
I held my breath with bursting joy
for I thought Mama would stop you …
but she didn’t.
She looked up …
and went on grazing.
I thanked her for her trust -
she twitched an ear and looked at me
placidly and accepting,
zebra of the wild she was,
then you and I resumed our conversation.

I felt as though in a dream.
The moments were brighter than the sun.
We talked and talked and our conversation
became more and more intense …
and then …

you took a few more steps towards me,
cautious, as Mama had taught,
but curious and unafraid …
the pinnacle of happiness for me,
for now you were but a Mama-zebra length away.

Your eyes and mine held each other
and we talked and talked of all things
like the beauty of the summer day
and the blue, blue cloudless sky.

I wanted time to stop
and then found I was wrong about the pinnacle of happiness
for it stretched further still …
for you took yet more steps.
I thought my heart would explode with love and trust,
but this time you had crossed the boundary
of Mama’s comfort, but not her trust,
for all she did was to wander a few steps slowly out of sight,
- no call, no fear, no rushing between us, no lashing out at me
with her tiny sharp, sharp hooves -
just a few steps out of sight, knowing you would follow.

But so much gratitude and love and trust had passed
in that golden triangle, that I could not have wished for more.

Thank you my little zebra darling
and not least Mama dear
for the sacred moments
of bonding with a baby zebra
and his Mama
in a conversation
that will take me back
to every word and twitch of ear
at every recall,
and each time I return
to your vast grassland hills and riverine forest home,
I’ll look for you my baby zebra, and your Mama
and when you’ve grown
I’ll search the depths of every zebra’s eyes
and talk my soul deep into his or hers
in the hopes that
it is you
my little zebra foal.

- Owl
© Copyright 2005 Diana van den Berg - All Rights Reserved
serenity blaze
Member Empyrean
since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


1 posted 12-01-2005 02:54 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

This is a gift of a read.

Every now and then I read something that totally kicks down my walls, and today, this is just such.

exquisitely captivating

and I will return to read this one again and again
garysgirl
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Member Seraphic
since 09-29-2002
Posts 20064
Florida, USA


2 posted 12-01-2005 03:06 PM       View Profile for garysgirl   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit garysgirl's Home Page   View IP for garysgirl

Oh yes!! This is a gift to us this day. Thank you
so much for this beautiful story. It made me think
of all the times I've talked to animals and
they've listened with a twitch of the ear or
a twinkle of eye while gazing deeply into mine.

My Gary tells me they like my voice and that
it's soothing to them. Maybe your voice
is the same, as you talk to your little animals.

I will also be back to read this again and again.
Thank You!!

Mysteria
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Member Laureate
since 03-07-2001
Posts 19652
British Columbia, Canada


3 posted 12-01-2005 04:15 PM       View Profile for Mysteria   Email Mysteria   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Mysteria

Now this was simply magic!  I have printed it out to read to my granddaughter who not only loves animals but we both have been looking at cows to find one we saw that was a favorite when young     These lines sure reminded me of our constant gazing into any cow's eyes  

I’ll search the depths of every zebra’s eyes
and talk my soul deep into his or hers
in the hopes that
it is you
my little zebra foal.


I thank you for an absolutely delightful bit of time spent reading this.

Oh, the other Sharon (Poetdevine) posted this link and I watch this every single day - so if you know of another I would sure love to see it.

Here is the one she posted from National Geographic anyway. http://205.188.130.53/ngm/wildcamafrica/wildcam.html

Martie
Moderator
Member Empyrean
since 09-21-1999
Posts 28608
California


4 posted 12-01-2005 05:29 PM       View Profile for Martie   Email Martie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Martie's Home Page   View IP for Martie

Owl

I love this!  I talk to the critters around here all the time.  Peacocks and raccoons and even skunks...and squirrels.  The peacocks listen the best.  The others are too busy doing the things that they do.  Thank you for the lovely feeling I got from reading of your zebra friends.  
OwlSA
Member Rara Avis
since 11-07-2005
Posts 8424
Durban, South Africa


5 posted 12-02-2005 11:26 AM       View Profile for OwlSA   Email OwlSA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for OwlSA

Thank you Serenity Blaze, Garysgirl, Mysteria and Martie.  I am very honoured by what you all said.  I am glad you felt what the poem was all about and that some of you also enjoy conversations with animals.  It is very rewarding.  I talk to my cat, Tigger, and my dog, Daisy, and my late horse, Flicka, and every animal I come across.  

Mysteria,I tried that link, but ran out of airtime while I was busy.  I will go back there another time, when my funds are healthier.  Thanks for that.

- Owl
suthern
Deputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Seraphic
since 07-29-99
Posts 20770
on the threshold of a dream


6 posted 12-02-2005 01:48 PM       View Profile for suthern   Email suthern   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for suthern

I absolutely love this!! *S* And... from what this tells of you... I envy those zebras the opportunity for conversation with you. *S* Beautiful write!!
LeeJ
Member Patricius
since 06-19-2003
Posts 13093
SE PA


7 posted 12-02-2005 02:38 PM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

what a nice way to portray the innocence which we should give to everyone, in allowing, and expression, the trust & complete readiness to allow....

exceptional write
this was delightful
serenity blaze
Member Empyrean
since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


8 posted 12-03-2005 11:21 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

This is entirely too charming to float off the page.

Back to the top just because reading this makes me happy.
OwlSA
Member Rara Avis
since 11-07-2005
Posts 8424
Durban, South Africa


9 posted 12-04-2005 06:44 PM       View Profile for OwlSA   Email OwlSA   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for OwlSA

Thank you Suthern, LeeJ (and Serenity Blaze again!) for understanding this very special half hour or so and for the very kind words and thoughts.

- Owl
Earl Brinkman
Senior Member
since 03-03-2010
Posts 1185
Osaka, Japan


10 posted 03-13-2010 07:47 AM       View Profile for Earl Brinkman   Email Earl Brinkman   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Earl Brinkman

It was a pleasure to be allowed into your world.  I have never seen nature up so close.  I like your personification of the zebras.  That was clever.
 
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