The scenery was magnificent, and the morning was slightly hot,
Our land cruiser was windowless, and sitting in a lovely spot.
The giraffes were splendid, and much bigger than I'd expected,
One could hardly gaze at the vast savanna and not be affected!
They moved with an elegance of grace, through a sea of green,
Offering years of happy memories, of sunshine's golden sheen.
For I had taken many pictures, and I would soon take many more,
As Africa had long been calling me, and I was now at her door!
We stayed there for some time, then got back on the dusty road,
I and many fellow travelers, beneath the huge baobabs shadowed.
Soon we saw a crash of rhinos, gathered near a cool blue lake,
Flamingos swimming the waters, and the mountains in their wake!
Like the orange golden noonday, lies in wake of colorful dawn,
Or the frost of icy winter, when followed by lush green lawn.
Later we saw huge elephants, with tusks and their flappy ears,
Walking in the savanna sunshine, so at ease among their peers.
We saw gazelles gracefully leaping, gamboling upon the plain,
In the heat some were sleeping, and dreaming of summer rain!
We saw alligators by the lakeshore, very slow and lethargic,
Whose love affair with muddy waters, would not end too quick.
Then we saw huge hippopotami, quick tempered and quite unruly,
And kindly kept our distance, so we would not rile them unduly.
As the masses keep far away, from the top of Volcano Mountain,
For none want to be nearby, when it spews its fiery fountain!
And the huge wildebeest herds, forever on their serengeti run,
Dust trails following behind them, under the hot African sun!
After eating tasty packed lunches, we continued with our tour,
'Til far above the baobabs we saw Kilimanjaro, partly obscured.
Clouds and blue mists drifted all round, as though heaven bound,
While at its base more giraffes, moved gracefully on the ground.
After a much longer ride, we saw ostritches near a thick wood,
And we departed the bus, to get some great pictures if we could!
I was so exhilarated, for I espied one of the beauties nearby,
But it picked up its feet and ran, on legs both nimble and spry.
After becoming winded I abandoned, this most impossible chase,
And gradually I discovered, that I was stranded in this place!
In a panic I ran in many directions, yelling for my companions,
Until at last I saw a ostritch, and decided to follow this one.
I maintained a discreet distance, and it led me from that wood,
But I was saddened to see only emptiness, where our bus had stood!
Like trees standing bereft of leaves, in heartlessness of winter,
Being able only to remain in hope, of soon hearing spring whisper.
The ostritch elegantly pranced away, in fancy high heeled shoes,
And I was left on the colorful plain, totally awash in the blues!
But a cheetah emerging from the woods, completely distracted me,
Making me paralyzed in fright, and for leaving the bus very sorry.
The cheetah made a running leap, just as the sun eclipsed the moon,
And she landed softly with a purr, and wished me a good afternoon!
Relieved surprised and very happy, I smiled and wished her the same,
And after I had introduced myself, I asked my new friend her name.
She said her name was Chiara, and she roamed plains and forests wild,
She said she'd had colorful adventures, for she was nature's child!
Sitting down in the shade of a baobab, we both talked of our lives,
She of running swift by light of moon, and making breathtaking dives.
I told Chiara of my job as a clerk, and of my early morning jogs,
And of gardening for a hobby, and playing with my neighbor's dogs.
She said that she could see for miles, and had keen sense of smell,
And she knew the scent of danger, and sensed a season's farewell!
Then we delighted in a foot race, to see which of us was faster,
And we tired ourselves laughing, for my running was pure disaster.
Suddenly Chiara became alert, and said my companions were nearing,
And before they chanced to arrive, she must soon leave the clearing.
So we embraced and we kissed, and said our heartfelt sad goodbyes,
And then we discovered, the eclipse was long gone from the skies!
With one look over her shoulder, Chiara disappeared into the forest,
And the sound of a coming engine, gave the ruddy day a new twist.
When they had finally missed me, they had immediately turned around,
And presently found me waiting calmly, under a tree upon the ground.
I have Africa to thank, for the most wondrous encounter of my life,
When I was led on an exciting safari, to interact with her wildlife.
Years have gone by since then, but I often think of Chiara still,
And I know she thinks of me too, when the full moon gives a thrill!