The real skirting the unreal 
This was the real skirting the unreal
an ox-bow river on a boiling plain
water-buffalo knee deep in its leaden swirl 
and me twelve-feet high surveying it, 
swaying on an elephant's back, its 
sure-footed ponderous grace 
the rhythm of a lost world. 

The sun a greasy gold webbing the plain 
hot as chip fat in the sky, and 
crazy peasants pic-nicking yards from 
the clenched jungle's clannish gloom
where rhinos lumber, wild boar start
and the rainbow-muscled tiger lurks: 
fantastic people who dwell –
how the artist in me envies them! –
in the imagination not the reason,
fatalistic but fantastic as 
children of some migraine dream. 
Late morning under jacarandas toiling 
and spoiling words in the head, 
the safari lodge crouched colonially behind.
At a coffee-coloured wicker table 
I contemplate in sun-whittled shade 
a two-inch-wide cockroach's endless attempts 
to climb the flaky-chocolate tree trunk, 
forever falling back, never giving up. 

Then the safari lodge at night licked by storm lamps and stars, the blue mosquitos of heaven; 
and a banquet on the lawn interrupted 
by a pony and cart in the lumbering dark, 
there none knew why. 
Mystery! Mystery! like that dry plain 
enlarged in the now-dark below 
its riddling river forever on the go.

[William Oxley]

| entrada | Llibre del Tigre | sèrieAlfa | varia | Berliner Mauer |