Thursday, April 10, 2008
Carved Ebony Buffalo
We gather possessions in life which remind us of special times and places. Sometimes directly from the source, and others quite inadvertently by stumbling upon them or as gifts. This poem is for Nace Benun, a financial wizard, who loved Kenya and has fond memories of his safari there years ago. He has a big heart, and he gave me a beautifully carved Buffalo.
I sat ’cross his desk in the tower
With its window view over the city
And there on the sill I saw with a thrill
A carving I thought very pretty.
I remarked “That’s a beautiful figure,
You don’t often find them like that,
The work is so fine you can see with each line
That the artist knew what he was at.”
“It’s a buffalo, Lord of Jungle
Nyati’s his Swahili name,
And he’s carved in Mpingo, which in African lingo
Is an Ebony wood from the plain.”
I told him my tale about hunting,
From the back of a truck as a lad,
How long shadows were getting, when the sun was a’setting
When I was just four with my Dad.
Then his generous heart leapt in that moment
Like a buffalo’s by the thorn tree,
And with watery eyes he picked up the prize
And he handed that carving to me.