A Prosody of Beasts: Buck at Tshokwane

At a bound with their brows lyre-laden,
Their counterpoint couched in the tendon,
The impala proceed from the anapest
Made flesh in immaculate fauns.
Red sentinels stir in the sunlight—
The waterbuck heaves up his antlers,
And dark in the thicket the sable,
Bred under stern Sagittarius,
Mans the defense like an archer.
And willfully, fleetingly, clean-hooved, dactylic,
The cantering zebra disturb the savannah,
With shadow and blaze, the changing and changeless.
They slash through the green, the sleek alexandrines,
Comely mare, russet foal, the trot is trochaic.
“I come,” calls the leopard, “Beware!
I have borrowed the beauty of Christ,
The manifold, sweet, the constant, all-seeing.”
Cloud-leopard with eyeballs of opal,
He sweetens the air wath his breathing.
He is bolted with stars.
Up, antelope! Dread the iambic—
The cat with his footfall of silence descends.
His leap is the shape of a scythe: he is hunting alone.
By the fetid pool, where green as nightmare,
Bole, branch and leaf, the fever-tree sickens,
Here glides the giraffe, slowly into the wind:
A dragon’s bones lodge meekly under the hide
Of a mere gazelle. His spotted head
Lifts to the vulture’s height: he peers at the distant grass
Under his far-off feet
Silent as sunlight he broods above the m’pani,
Turning its thorns to honey, its sap to Cana.
The gold camelopard confounds with fact all fables,
The uttermost lily of a flowerless forest,
The bush blooms wfith the beast, startled, spondaic.