The Old Buffalo On the bank now there he stands, his moth eaten hair in shaggy strands. He chews the cud with malevolent air, while ticks roam his coarse grey hair, and in my head the voices say, "He's a mean old bastard, old 'n grey".
His shoulders bunch with iron bands, his feet splay wide upon the sands. When all are threatened, who wander near, it's no surprise my abject fear and in my head the voices say, "He's a mean old bastard, keep well away".
He tosses his head, then he moves dust rises from his cloven hooves. Tired old legs lift tired old feet, the air hangs still in furnace heat, and in my head the voices say, "He's a mean old bastard, with right of way".
Across his head is a buttress spread, of hardened hair, in steely thread. It rises from his head's coarse hide, a cruel scimitar on either side, and in my head the voices say, "He's a mean old bastard, nearin' his day".
Through the sand he slowly rambles, and monkeys flee in panicked shambles; then he sees me and speeds his gait, there's no disguising his fearsome hate, and in my head the voices warn, "He's a mean old bastard, tired and torn".
I move along, I start to jog. Time's slowed down, I'm in a fog. He maybe old and seeming fragile but, all at once, he's very agile and in my head the voices yell "He's a mean old bastard, run like hell!"
I turn to run, I try to flee, that old bastard's right after me. Then... quite suddenly... he turns aside; has my flight restored his pride? And in my head the voices smug, note the smile on his ugly mug!
Incident at Chikwenya Camp, Zambezi River © Robin C. S. Webb 1991