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Winds of Africa

Author: Marden P.
Date of Trip: September 2010

The endless winds of Africa call out to me
Across savanna, mountain, river and sea
Like foreign voices in an unknown tongue
Messages borne in the songs they’ve sung
Whispering to something buried deep inside
Primitive memories that in my heart reside

The spirit winds of the ancient Tsidillo Hills
Carry thru the centuries both warmth and chills
The ghostly images of those who left their art
On the stones unspoken messages to impart
As I ponder there their drawings I wonder
What messages they heard in wind and thunder

Across the Okavango Delta the breezes carry
The fragile scent of water lilies and then tarry
To whisper a tale of the waters long journey
From Angola’s mountains to this papyrus sea
Bringing life to the desert and a vision to me
Before sinking into the sands of the Kalahari

The Ngorongoro Crater breathes in and breathes out
Morning winds pour in and evening winds float out
And between Nature seems to hold her breath to see
What man will do with her timeless gift, given free,
A paradise enclosed by volcanic caldera walls
Where flora and fauna Eden’s garden recalls

Selous breezes blowing giraffe, like spotted leaves, across the plain
Tsavo gusts lifting vultures high sky-high in their search for the slain
Morning gales turning the Zambezi River into an endless washboard
Mara winds blowing long strings of wildebeest toward their river ford
Fish eagles floating as though on a magic carpet over Lake Baringo
Patiently waiting to snatch up the fish the guides sometimes throw

A ruffled ball of feathers perches back to the wind
Not flying while the air is filled with dust and sand
The elephants are red with trunk blown dust
Covering their iron-gray skin like splotchy rust
Gazelle and impala sniff the air, alert and wary,
For the scent of any predators the breezes carry

Sounds borne on the owl-quiet wings of the night air
The roar of the male lion newly roused from his lair
The leopards rough cough as he glides through the dark
Hyenas hunting calls, more chilling laughter than bark
Grunts of the feeding hippo and calls of a night bird
A few, among many, of the dark sounds I’ve heard

The never-ceasing, ever twirling, devil winds of the Amboseli
And the hot endless sere winds of the desert called Kalahari
Dry out the bush and trees, burn the grass and sear the skin
Turn waterholes to mud, but cleanse the soul and usher in
With the suffering, anticipation of rebirth and blessed relief
That is more than just hope a deep-rooted soul-lifting belief

The rain laden winds of the Serengeti
Turn dust into grass and hunger to plenty
They call out to wildebeest and zebra
Beckoning them to cross the river Mara
Urging them on thru the cycle of life
While calling to me like bugle and fife

The winds of Africa cry out to me of all mankind
Of poverty and sickness and cruelty out of mind
Children without shoes, let alone schools, too little food,
Unclean water to drink, many wrongs on which to brood
And yet the wind whispers of pride, of joy and of hope,
The determination of tribes to love, to live and to cope

Just as the dry season wind brings the smell of smoke and death
The wind of the rains brings new growth and the hope of rebirth
The ancient winds that blow across man’s ancestral home
Carry portents for the future and, as the words of a poem,
Whispers of hope, pledges of progress and shouts of commitment
And I rejoice in the messages the Winds of Africa have sent.

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