A long, free-verse poem about the roar of male lions.
|Across the short-grass plains
of Lion Kopje in Tanzania's
Serengeti National Park
comes the unmistakable roar
of a male lion. Beginning as a soft,
low moan, it rises into a loud roar,
ending with staccato grunts of
"huh, huh, huh". This roar carries
for five miles over the plains.
Prey and predator alike take notice.
The scientist in me says this roar
is to proclaim that this territory
with its pride of females is his.
It serves as a warning to all
marauding nomadic male lions
to stay away, for I am king here.
I will fight to the death to keep
dominance over my territory.
The poet in me says this roar
is to tell all the world,
“Look how magnificent I am!
I am king of beasts, lord over
all I survey. I have the heart
of a champion. I am a warrior
who has won many battles,
vanquished many foes.”
This roar speaks of self-confidence
and pride in his regal presence.
This day comes the return of
roars from two young brothers
eager to challenge for the right
to his territory and his pride of females.
The older male trots off to find
and chase away these interlopers.
He is a large, immensely strong lion,
whose body carries numerous scars
as witness to the past battles
he has won in the three years
that he has been pride master.
He sees the pair of young males.
One comes forward in challenge.
A fierce battle ensues; dust flies
as teeth and claws rip and tear.
Just when the older male gets
the younger male pinned beneath him,
his brother now jumps on his back,
knocking him to the ground.
Both lions attack him ferociously,
furiously ripping him apart
with claws and teeth sinking deep
into his powerful muscles,
inflicting bloody, mortal wounds
until he is powerless against them.
He could have defeated either alone,
but the coalition overpowers him.
Bleeding and broken, the old lion
limps away to find a shady place
to die in peace; his life was well-spent,
for his DNA survives in his progeny
now dotting the plains of the Serengeti.
He has left his imprint on lion lineage,
but tonight his bloodied body
will feed the scavengers well.
The two young brother lions
now go to find the pride of females
to establish their dominance
and to kill all cubs too immature
to escape their brutal fate.
Starting now, there are new masters
roaring their warning over the plains
of Africa’s Serengeti.
Such is the cruel fate of male lions.
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