“The Masai Mara Dreams of Vultures”- Poetry by Marius

Dust rises like a silted fog between the Serengeti plains and the mighty Masai Mara
Wildebeests in mass migration, heavy-headed, spindly-legged
Improbable and plenty, walk the beaten path in jeopardy
Relentlessly, attended by the watchful lions, in turn followed
By the jackals, cheetah, wild dogs, and hysterical hyenas
All laughing, tongues lolling, calculating distances
And likely outcomes
Every summer half a million grunting ungulates will meet their fate
And fill the fastest hunter’s need
Bloody-faced and belly-full, they retire when sated, without greed
And the Dance’s second act begins with graceful and ascending arcs
Like dueling kites in wind, the wheeling vultures float above, begin
To fall like stones, to strike the dusty clay
Flexing feathers, hopping froggish trolls
And the bloated, blasted carcass falls to them,
The boisterous mob, full of happy mayhem
Rot and guts are stripped in minutes
A spectacle of ugliness, but life’s directive
Nonetheless – that everything has use
But the Serengeti janitors, Mut’s minions also signal an alarm in azure skies,
That Death is here
And stealth, the poacher’s cloak, is torn away
For more and more, the hungry ghosts of war, the ivory thieves
Kill the gray gargantuan as they move with the herds
And leave cryptic corpses, sad remains
These are dangerous men to inconvenience in their plans
Soldiers in a blighted cause, they spread their poison everywhere
For birds, for men, and the tainted bait they make means this:
No birds to tell a tale, so easy cash and secrets kept
A poacher heeds no law but appetite and market share
Still..empty skies and poisoned corpses
Are a warning in and of themselves
Things fall apart, as Chinua Achebe said
Just this easily
While the Masai Mara dreams of vultures
Gone from the grassy seas

nytimes.com: Vulture Populations Wane, Poisoned by Man