It wasn't the gun
that could have saved us,
a shoulder-heaved blunderbluss
loaded and double-checked;
nor the fear in the gut struck
up before the sun's rise
as we careered down
from the jeep in South Africa's bush,
my heart's beat and yours
courting our ribs. It wasn't
the height of the dry savanna
grass I'd wished wouldn't crack
too loud in our ears as we played
follow-the-leader, ready to freeze
in place at the word expelled
in the moment we would not admit
our need to breathe.
To imagine yourself in the eyes
of the rhino, mostly blind, counting
on its own nose to pick us out:
that is to be alive in every sense
you will ever muster in awe.
© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas
My visit to South Africa, though not recent, will forever be the trip I will not forget. To hike to the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, to watch penguins tumble from the bushes to rush into the sea at the Cape of Good Hope, to travel through bush on safari, to emerge from your tent to see monkeys in trees, or walk through camp at night with armed guard because the animals are free to roam. . . those are experiences that recall to me my moments of being "alive-est".
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I'm participating in the Domino Project's #Trust30 challenge, an online writing/reflection initiative for which a prompt is posted daily. All of the prompts to date are here.
This poem was inspired by the 28th prompt from writer and speaker Sam Davidson, author of Simplify Your Life:
Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. If we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
When did you feel most alive recently? Where were you? What did you smell? What sights and sounds did you experience? Capture that moment on paper and recall that feeling. Then, when it's time to create something, read your own words to reclaim a sense of being to motivate you to complete a task at hand.
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I've used all of the #Trust30 prompts as inspiration for new poems. My poems for prompts 16 -27 are:
You'll find my poem for prompt 15, "Truth Be Told", and a list of poems for prompts 1 - 14 here.