Sunday, October 11, 2015

I Had a Dream of Cecil the Lion

I Had a Dream of Cecil the Lion

By David Hartley Mark

                                    I had a dream of Cecil the Lion
                                    Flights of Seraphim were guiding him to his rest
                                    On a starry throne composed all of
                                    Hippopotamus meat
                                    While Elephant-heralds were trumpeting

                                    I had a dream of Jericho his Lion-Friend
                                    Who had adopted Cecil’s seven halfgrown cubs
                                    And was raising them as his own
                                    Teaching them all the wise ways of Lion Lore
                                    And making certain
                                    That their memories of their Father
                                    Shot to death by combination bow
                                    By a cowardly
                                    Minnesota Dentist
                                    (Pause for boos and hisses by Mourners with Paws)
                                    Should ne’er be forgotten

                                    I had a dream of the Minnesota Dentist
                                    Who, like Jonah, was pursued by Justice no longer blind
                                    To the ends of the earth
                                    And, like an anti-Saint Sebastian
                                    Was metaphorically tied to a stake
And shot full of poison-dipt arrows
                                    Purchased at a high-end Sporting Goods Store
                                    And left to rot on the High Savannahs
                                   
As he had left Cecil
                                    The Martyr of Lions

                                    And then, I awoke
                                    There were no more Lions
                                    Or Elephants with Trumpets
                                    Or Hippopotami Yawning
                                    Or Wildebeeste to serve as Lionesque Hors D’oeuvres
                                   
The PETA people had all gone home

                                    And Cecil was still dead
                                    His sad skull
                                    Lost in transit
                                    Somewhere
                                    Betwixt Zimbabwe and Minnesota

                                    So in my mind I traveled
                                    To rugged and wretched Zimbabwe
                                    Land of Enchantment
                                    Where Great White Guides
                                    With unpronounceable names
                                    Lead Dentists and Lawyers and Doctors
                                    With money to spend
                                    Into Nature Preserves
                                    To thin out the Herd
                                    Of Nature
                                    Man-Supervised,
                                    Which does seem Ironic

                                    But mostly I wished to see
                                    The Nobility of Nature
                                    Where Proud Lions and Lionesses
                                    Live against a Backdrop of Power
                                    Amid the Rawness of Africa
                                    And the Beauty of Spirit
                                    In the Awesomeness of God’s Creation
                                    Birds, Beasts, Fish and Fowl….

                                    So I journeyed to Zimbabwe
                                    And saw for myself
                                    One-and-a-half-million
                                    Little Black Orphan Human Beings
                                    Living in Poverty
                                    In the streets
                                    With one of the lowest Life Expectancies
                                    In the World
                                    (Women die at Age 37,
Men at 58),
                                    Safe, however
                                    From being Bow-hunted
                                    But that may be cold comfort for them…

                                    I recalled that when Cecil died,
                                    The Monarch of the Veldt,
                                    They projected his Image
                                    On the Empire State Building.

                                    I cannot recall seeing
                                    That same image
                                    Of any Starving Orphans
                                    Or of Robert Mugabe,
                                    The “old-school dictator”
                                    Who presides over their dying.

                                    I turned, therefore,
                                    From this Earth
Of our Discontentment,
                                    To contemplate
                                    The Heavenly Stars….