The Leopard and The Gazelle by Blaine Kaltman

Were it not for red earth it would be an abyss
A lion’s growl’s lost in the lonely wind’s hiss
The chatter of insects, a howling baboon
The windswept savanna is dark with no moon

And in this advantage a leopard creeps near
To grazing gazelles unable to hear
Her paws on the dirt, she scouts for the young
The enfeebled, the wounded, the one who can’t run
And slinks through the tall grass causing a rustle
The gazelles are alert now, some start to hustle
away yet some stay, their ears pricked up
The insects stop chattering, A mom rounds her pup
All snapped to attention and in this pregnant pause
One lone gazelle stands within range of the claws

That split second in which both animals decide-
who is going to live and who’s going to die
Starvation’s a threat- the leopard must feed,
and she’ll have burned all her energy should she not succeed
The gazelle can graze grass to relieve hunger pangs-
but only if he can escape leopard’s fangs
So here on the grass plains where danger is rife-
two desperate souls compete for one life

Both animals freeze, fur bristles their backs
A distant dog cries- and the leopard attacks.

The gazelle whirls and runs, hooves pounding red ground
And plunges through tall grass but no safety’s found
The leopard leaps, the gazelle darts aside-
too late -her talons gnash into his hide
He stumbles and scrambles then falls to the brush
Fangs pierce his skin and red blood starts to gush.
The gazelle struggles up and bucks and brays
But the leopard’s jaws locked and he can’t get away.
Bones snap and crunch with a sickening sound
Warm blood fills her mouth as she takes gazelle down
And lacerates flesh with her talons like lace
The gazelle’s struggle ends in the leopard’s embrace

One creature dies so another may live.
The savanna bears witness but cannot judge or forgive.

Blaine Kaltman has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Queensland. He is the author of “Under the Heel of the Dragon” and the producer, lead actor, and screenplay writer of the award winning film “Back Alley Bulls” He is a Foreign Service officer with the US State Department and fluent in Mandarin Chinese. His latest artistic venture is a hard rock band named Stone Mob and a cowboy themed video to support their first single “Murder Town” . But none of this has stopped Blaine from writing poems almost everyday for the past twenty years.

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