Morning humidity with rising haze,
sub-continental sun, indigo skies,
arcane land-ship of silent voyeurs,
clicking cameras and stoical stares.
An expedition at dawn: rainforest
to ageless banyan, palm and dhok,
where monkey tails on high wires
curl; arboreal acrobats, simian kin.
Deer scatters, threatening sounds,
leathery crocs skulk in mud-water,
eyes float like ghosts in the ether,
warthogs drink, oblivious to fate.
Rumbling, tumbling, mystery tour,
flat-hands and binoculars seeking
striped Bengali of revered royalty,
sacred icon of savage wilderness.
As afternoon shadows grow long,
at last a sighting! Edge of an abyss
where far below on a ravine floor
two tigers pace like caged beasts.
Hotel bound we turn homewards,
silent prayers made, Indian Gods,
untouched by fate or Karma until
the forest reveals its roaring king.
Monsoon memories of heady days,
sanctuary, reservation of sanctity,
harmony of prowling co-existence,
Asian dreams etched on my soul.
Image free to use at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bengal_tiger#/media/File:Tiger_facial_mark...(T72)_Ranthambhore_India_12.10.2014.jpg
This poem is inspired from a holiday to India in 2017. A stay at the Hotel Ranthambore Regency led to a day safari at the nearby Ranthambore National Park and Tiger Reserve. Of all the animals on show that day (monkeys, crocodiles, deer, warthog and many others) a sighting of tigers remained elusive until late afternoon when two were spotted but looked far away at the bottom of a ravine. However, on the journey back to the hotel, a tiger in the wild appeared in nearby forest leading to apprehension from us tourists before making it back safely.