African Blood Feud
(He Who Greets With Fire)
Northern Botswana, Africa’s gut, wild still,
Acacia laced veldt, plain and rolling hill,
Home of elephant, zebra and wildebeest,
Blood feud north, south, west and east,
Hyenas and lions compete for same food,
Clan and pride subject to opportunist mood
Of the other, beyond mere competitive hate,
Yet each species entwines in other’s fate.
Each robs kill if combat strength over-match,
Kill other’s stragglers if they find and catch.
Eemaydah and Eetwidomayloh share a pride,
Eemaydah slightly older, his emotions can hide,
Eetwidomayloh, male lion prime, blood hot,
Rippling hard muscle, explores range in trot.
Eemaydah, pride’s boundaries also must mark,
So while males go on their cruising lark,
Hyena clan’s numbers gather in strength,
Harass pride’s females, go to any length,
To scavenge their kills, overpower them if alone,
Chase them up trees, aware males are gone.
Eemaydah returns, clan matriarch unaware,
Overpowers, breaks her back without a care.
New matriarch assumes command of clan,
On spiteful mission launches daring plan,
Taunt Eemaydah, disdainfully mark his spoor,
She traces his path, covers his scent on tour.
Lion king is watchful of haughty indiscretion,
Content to attend standoff with siege session.
But now comes Eetwidomayloh, sees this sight,
Lions humbled, insulted. Ears back, into flight,
Straight for matriarch, from nearby viewing post,
Six hundred pound frame rippling to the most,
Black mane waves air, each veldt eating bound,
Tail behind juggernaut, for balance swings ‘round.
Anger on face, palpably awful, vivid and large,
Too late, matriarch sees all out raging charge,
She turns on a whimper, rude plan now forgot,
Races for her life, survival hope, her only plot.
She dodges, he counters, she stretches, he gains.
She runs, eyes back, as their separation wanes,
He gauges leaps ‘til her stride match he’s found,
Huge paw stretches, claws bared, curve around,
Hooks her hind foot, she trips, quickly trapped,
On her last heartbeat, her thick neck snapped,
Great grinding crunch — dealing satisfied scorn,
Death of short career, clan’s nightmare is born.
Eetwidomayloh, supreme killer, feline sire,
Greets loathed enemies with searing fire.
Vengeance roams veldt, new purpose keen,
Find hyena clan, remove from the scene.
We don’t know how far his vendetta went,
If Eetwidomayloh’s life has been spent,
But hyenas’re still there, yipping with fright,
As huge lion — or ghost — haunts their night.