I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world,
to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')


These poems are works in progress, and may be subject to revision without notice. Completed versions appear in my books. Nevertheless copyright applies to all texts found here.

26 September 2011

Hunting

In Kenya, the Masai still hunt the lions, 
predators which take their domestic beasts 

though it’s illegal now to hunt the Kenyan lions.
The men who hunt them are tracked and hunted. 

The warriors walk a fine line: brotherhood, tradition,
or the new conservation. Their world is changing.

‘We don’t kill lions any more’ (title of training film).
There will be compensation for any stock lost.

Can Masai still be men with no lion hunts? Lions 
are successful hunters, perfecting their killing techniques. 

The Masai have had their own conservation: unlucky 
for one warrior to kill more than nine lions.

A hunter called Sunepai has already killed twelve,
expects to die early, and goes on; knows no other way.

It’s about food, which is to say life
for lions and also the Masai. Can’t be solved easy.

(based on a National GeographicTV program)

30 Poems in 30 Days: 27,  food

3 comments:

  1. I think if they are compensated for not killing lions then they ought to leave the lions alone. Being able to kill something doesn't prove manhood, it just proves they can kill, nothing more.
    I'm all for people needing to kill to eat to live but, not when these animals are in danger of becoming extinct because they're being hunted out of existence. The land belonged to wild animals long before man came along and claimed it for himself and they have less and less land that they can freely seek out food for themselves too. I know it's a fine line but, I'm on the lions side.

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  2. for me, I like how the narrative just springs out -

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  3. Daydreamertoo, I'm absolutely on the side of the lions also, but what the doco showed was how difficult it is for these men to overome centuries of cultural conditioning when, because of the necessity to protect their stock from these dangerous animals, it became all bound up with courage and brotherhood and being a man. One bit I left out of the poem was that youngsters are trained very gradually to hunt big game; they start by hunting birds (difficult with only arrows). It's an age-old initiation procedure, where they graduate to being men who can hunt lions with spears. (They still hunt with spears. The man who had killed twelve did so with a spear.) I don't at all condone this, but I can see how it came about, and how hard it is now for some to separate themselves from the old ideas. Others are embracing conservation principles, and are considered by some of their tribe to be traitors. It is a period of transition, right now. I think it is remarkable that conservation is already law despite this background.

    Ollie, I'm glad I managed to make a narrative out of it for you, even though I didn't include all the details.

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