Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Batian


Batian, 
the eyes of love and trust


Batian
I see your tawny hide
shimmering golden in the setting sun,
see you leaping with joy
to embrace your beloved Gareth,
who raised you to be free
in the Tuli veld.

You were beautiful,
loving,
peaceful,
padding the grassy land,
providing for your sisters
and their cubs.

Born to be free,
you enjoyed life
for three short years.
Trophy "hunters" lured you
into a trap.
You heard the recorded sounds 
of jackals eating,
you smelled meat,
hung in a tree.
You were wary,
there were no vultures;
something was not right.
But you were hungry,
and so you came.

From the blind, shots rang out,
and you fell. 
Laughter and backslapping,
as your beauty
was snuffed out.
A trophy to decorate their walls,
blood money paid,
satisfaction all around.

Now you are gone,
and one sister and her cubs are gone,
shot one year later.
Only Rafiki is left
of the Adamson Born Free lions.

Because man thinks he rules the earth,
that can never be ruled,
because he thinks, in his arrogance,
that his wants mean more than others' lives,
the lions are disappearing from Africa.
Our world and our
aching human souls
are forever diminished
by that loss.


Gareth and Batian,
murdered at age three


I am just finishing reading With My Soul Amongst Lions by Gareth Patterson, who stepped in to raise and return to the wild three lion cubs orphaned when George Adamson (Born Free) was murdered.  Those three, and their cubs, have now  all been shot by humans, except for the one remaining sister, Rafiki, with whom Gareth  had to sever contact for her protection.  (The population wished both he and Rafiki gone from the Tuli lands. He raised awareness of the lions' plight, which did not sit well with those who exploit and profit from them.)

My heart breaks yet again,  and I wept all the way through this book, with the poaching and killing and horrible arrogance of man threaded through this heartbreaking story. Gareth fights on for the remaining lions of Africa.

Thirty years ago, says an article in the Daily Mail in the UK,  there were 200,000 wild lions. Now there are estimated to be only 15,000. There are no lions left in 25 African countries, and populations are barely surviving in ten others.

We think we're here to rule the earth. But we are guests here, connected to every other life form. Eventually, we will suffer, too, the fate of other species, as greed continues to destroy this planet we love so much.


sources: The Daily Mail and The Lowveld


11 comments:

  1. How sad. I agree with you. We're connected, we're not on our own.

    Greetings from London.

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  2. Sherry,

    I wonder what life will be like 7 generations from now. We are indeed visitors and we should take care of our world it is the only one we have.

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  3. Animals have an ability to trust that we humans seem bent on destroying at times - the very notion of trophy hunting is one of many things wrong with 'us' - i am always thankful for those with the heart big enough to tell their story xo

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  4. So sad....will they notice when all are gone?

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  5. Man is a pest. Sometimes I wonder what goes through some of our heads, how the brain and heart can survive the rot of greed and lack of regard for other life. We'll pay for our arrogance. And it won't be pretty...

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  6. When will we learn, in arrogance, we aren't lord and master, over the beauty, we share, with other creatures, on this planet. How many more species must pay the price, for our "diseased" thinking.

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  7. Your beautiful poem made me weep all over again for this lovely lion. Your final verse is powerful and too true. Thank you also for the back story.

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  8. This is very sad, Sherry! What has man wrought!

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  9. It's really so frustrating to read about the abominable humans, absolutely unaware of dancing their way to their own extinction...ugh...your grave words truly honor the lost souls Sherry...

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  10. I am copying a comment from Lady Nyo that she sent to me by email, because it says something important to anyone who reads it. Thank you, Jane!

    "Batian. He stands for all the horror and greed of a part of mankind that has no soul. Your poem cuts to the heart of our destruction, not only of lions and their disappearance from the Earth, but of all the corruption and selfish greed towards Nature. We are impoverished by our actions, yet we only think of what we do in passing. What a heart-felt poem that should stir the minds and convictions of everyone who lives and breathes on this Earth! I was in tears reading but know that only with our facing what we do to the rest of the species on this Earth do we grow in compassion and humanity. I remember last year seeing a picture of a young lioness being dragged, fully alive, her claws deep in the earth, being dragged backwards to a pen where she was shot for trophy hunters. I was horrified at this slaughter and it haunts me to this day. I remember seeing a video of a huge male lion in a cage, standing fully erect, embracing his human friend outside the cage, wrapping his arms around him, the love and devotion on both sides clearly evident. When will we ever learn? Thank you, Sherry for this poem. It should move our hearts to combat the horrible slaughter of a species that does not survive mankind's greed and senseless destruction". Jane Bartels, Lady Nyo

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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!