Friday, September 17, 2010

The Week We Spent

We spent a week

one four hour afternoon

watching a leopard

under a tree,

perusing impalas,

entering stage right.

A few drift by him.

Safely? Nervously!

A male impala, horns curved

sands his ground a mere

20 feet away – facing off.

The “Lamb stands with the Lion”.

Enter two elephants and

three giraffes, stage left.

They smell invisible danger.

The wallow pit is dry anyway.

They turn back

never facing the leopard.

Wart hogs enter stage right.

The leopard finally darts out

as we watch giraffes.

He misses and lies in the wallow

atonishingly blending into the greys.

The leopard returns to his stump

lounging as if in a bathtub,

legs draped like vines over the edges,

silently announcing danger

to the foliage eaters one and all.

And the food chain, familiar to us all

at many levels, goes on.

Lizette Estelle Stiehr


Dedicated to Chris Vaisvil and his comment

“the week we spent that afternoon”.

The first of my own Africa pictures here!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oh Mr. Zebra

You beg the question

Mr. Zebra,

Just like the


Are you pushing me

Or am I pulling you?

And you, Mr. Zebra

Beg the question:

Are your stripes

white on black

or black on white?

Are you galloping

the white light

barred by old patterns

hostage to the past

with black stripes

breaking up your light?

Or are you

working the darkness,

bringing in stripes of light

to band the darkness

into bite sized pieces?

How like Africa.

The high contrast of

poverty and victimhood

banded with wide riotess beauty

filled with orange flowers and trees

hosting the broadest range of

wildly divergent forms.

No answers.

Is the world pulling Africa

Or is Africa pushing the world?

All I know is the love I feel there.

Lizette Estelle Stiehr

September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shark Diving

The greater rush

from one foot in

the Atlantic Ocean

and the other

in the Indian Ocean

relative to cage diving

with great white sharks,

seems odd to me.

And there were great white sharks:

seven in all, 2 large ones,

chum drawn and bait bated to

charge the cage

hosting a line up of black suited

precious human bodies.

Clearly the cage is more

for our psychological protection,

than physical protection.

Sharks kill 5 to 7 humans a year.

We human kill 100,000 sharks each year.

Who’s the greater danger?

Sharks are so like the rhino,

a throwback to prehistoric bodies.

I’m surprised with the total

lack of fear suiting up

or entering the cage.

Once in, a huge rush,

partly cold water,

partly that I’m immersed

in the Atlantic Ocean,

near the very bottom of the planet.

I’m in the ocean that bonds

Greenland and Canada,

England and Maine,

and the steady heart beat

of Africa with South America.

The ocean feels charged

with past ships successfully

completing marketing missions,

and those claimed by Davie Jones locker

by this rugged coast.

The great whites are here,

drawn to “shark alley”

by the penguins on Dire Island

to the right, and seals on the left.

Both shorelines we can see from the boat.

Sharks are drawn to the boat

by the food game of

now you see it, now you don’t.

The water is chummed with

fish blood and bits, advertising the game.

If you choose to show up to play,

a hooked fish head is thrown your direction,

then withdrawn quickly over the human cage.

The men throwing know the “fetch” game well.

No feeding the sharks, tempting only,

so it must be jerked quickly out of jaws reach.

Underwater I have the house’s

best seat….last in the cage.

At the end of the boat chumming draws

schools of parrot fish who feed in a frenzy.

With visibility at 7 feet only

the cry “down in front”

means all of us caged ones

drop below the waters surface.

Nothing in front, fish feeding off to my right.

I come up for air.

Another “down in front”,

I submerge forgetting to take a breath.

And there it is.

A great white shark

drifting by, gills slits clear, closed,

only a brief mouth line

under the elongated snout.

“Down in front”

here comes another,

one lazy tail twitch sending it

shooting toward the boat,

the cage, mouth open.

I’m surprised by my bodies

lack of visceral fear, only appreciation

for the magnificent beauty,

the size and incredible grace.

And I’m getting cold.

Isn’t life incredible?

Lizette.Estelle Stiehr

September 14, 2010