Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bolt & Burrow

Out here there are those who dig and those who bolt.
There is surge and panic.
There is the split hoof and the blindeye.

There is the red African sun.
gone orange, going gold.

I have babies;
I hide them in the shade of thorn bushes.
I have the softstep
and the loose-backed sprint--
I'm on you quicker than your next thought.

I am not the strongest here,
nor the most ancient,
but I am the most immediate.

Will you linger, just long enough?
Will the new grass turn you stupid with satiety?
I am a stranger to that;
it is a luxury I can't indulge.

I wonder, under the now white-yellow sun,
will I be the engine of my cubs' survival--
the mother of their learning the savage crimson heart of this place,
our home?

Or will a dark burrower be my undoing?
Will the timid digger's den be my last fast step
before I stumble and fall, 
broken-legged and doomed?

There are no answers yet,
only dust, the next breath, hunger's unrelenting imperative,
and the gold of the African sun
gone orange,
then disappeared until tomorrow.

for Poetry Jam, where the topic is "The Beast In You".


TexWisGirl said...


'i am the most immediate'
you are brilliant.

Mary said...

Excellent poem to prompt, Shay! I think you captured very well the difficult life of so many of our wild cats who survive the best they can from meal to meal, as they try to raise their young. They never know if, around the next corner, will be their undoing. Powerful stuff here. Whew!

Sioux said...

gone orange, going gold.

"I love that line," said Nora and Delia Ephron's long-lost, no-one-knew-she-existed-til-just-now cousin (fourteen times removed).

Grace said...

I like the colors of the African sun and heart of the mother - an engine's survival, crimson heart of the home ~

The Superfluous Blogger said...

the number of people that grass has turned stupid with satiety is staggering.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh what a wonderful poem, steeped in Africa, color, and sunset. Glorious. I could see it all.

Brian Miller said...

nice....that last stanza in particular shay...i am the most immediate is a cool line ...same with it being a luxury you cant is survival for sure for them our write...

Cloudia said...

Sending Aloha to YOU
from Honolulu,
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° >

Loredana Donovan said...

Amazing poem from the voice of an equally amazing creature. Love the images of the sun interspersed between the verses. A wild animal, but you've given her quite an intellect. If she could speak, that's what she'd say :)

HermanTurnip said...

This is awesome! And it fits in lock step with the book I'm reading about the Spartans entitled Gates Of Fire. The Spartans had much in common with the predators of the wild...

Margaret said...

Savage crimson heart. Tough love, but she must be that kind of mother. No indulging in luxury.

You caught her "non apologetic" spirit.

And thank you for your comments regarding my poetry. It brought tears to my eyes as I am my own worst critic.

Margaret said...

Great comparison!

TALON said...

It's lovely to know that Shay still produces gorgeous poetry :)

Lovely to see you! Happy New Year! Wishing you a gorgeous 2013, Shay.

Poet Laundry said...

My turn to say wow! You have created an entire savanna here through the eyes of this gorgeous creature. 'Will the new grass turn you stupid with satiety?' Fierce she must be, if they are to see the sun rise and set again. Brilliant. Delicious read, every golden drop.

rashmi menon said...

wow! Love the fiery tigress! adore her spirit, her unflinching gaze at the worst fate that may befall her. Hats off to her and her poet.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

i sooooooo love this, SP! it never occurred to me about there being holes that could trip the big cats when they're in the chase.

it seems such a hard, almost futile, existence in Africa but there is also so much beauty and you have conveyed both so well!

{i love this so much that i'm not even gonna tell ya to go back to work... you know you should, but i ain't gonna tell ya}

Kerry O'Connor said...

I love it when you engage in African themes, especially big cat mommas!

Your repetition of references to the colours of the sun make its heat a central factor of the poem, linked with the energy of the cheetah. Very nicely done.

SaraV said...

Wow Shay! This piece knocked me off my feet. So many beautiful phrases, loved that" quicker than your next thought" the grazers as living in luxury, of time...really felt like I was in the cheetah's mind and environment. Excellent! And thank you for the visit to my blog:-)

hedgewitch said...

As always the vista that is seen through the eyes of the big cat seems to come naturally to you, as does the personality. There is the fierce spirit, the independence, and the harsh knowledge that being at the top of the food chain one day is no guarantee you won't be feeding the flies the next. I especially like what you've done here with the words you've chosen to combine, merging some, like 'softstep' and 'blindeye,' and hyphenating others. That can be a difficult call and make for awkwardness, but not here, where the poem seems to have the same eternal flow as wind through the savannah grass. Another excellent piece, Shay.

Helen said...

You painted ~ in living color ~ the savagery and the beauty of Africa!

ND Mitchell said...

This was a beautiful description. Loved the survival aspect and i believe in the voice :-)

Mama Zen said...

"I am not the strongest here,
nor the most ancient,
but I am the most immediate."

Oh, that's like a gut-punch!

Hannah said...

"I wonder, under the now white-yellow sun,
will I be the engine of my cubs' survival--
the mother of their learning the savage crimson heart of this place,
our home?"

Yeah, I did that...totally pulled a stanza and copy/pasted...I love this one and ALL Shay...your descriptions in this piece are rich! :)

Peggy said...

Looks like my comment did not post here as well as on some other sites. And I even looked up how to spell cheetah!! Love how you got into the mind of this big cat!!

Lolamouse said...

You go grrrrl! Love the colors in this. I agree that your mama cat poems are always strong.