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Within the Rift ©

Jim McRobert
Edinburgh, Scotland
2005

As Savannah streaks with silver and pale gold rims the hill
An Acacia tree stands twisted, distorted-dancer, still
While an eagle soars majestic past a sliver of the moon
Reds scatter into purple, night begins her restless tune

The trill of hidden tree frog or breeze of scuttling snake
A cough of hunting leopard, the cry of apes awake
A snort of hidden buffalo or distant jackal laugh
The growl and pant of lion fearless on his path

Within this land of giant men on the 'mountains of the moon'
Near the 'forest of Bwindi' secret in its gloom
By the 'volcanoes of Virunga' lie vine a metre thick
And the silverbacks are waiting, hear them chatter click by click

High above are triple lakes the 'springs of Homer's Dreams'
With legend gems beyond compare, thick on savage Queens
Where Christian priests and Holy men hid their Holy Grail
Along the paths that ancients walked upon their lonely trail

And all around now blackness, as black as any night
As creatures live to rise and eat, by hunger and by bite
Then at the fractured glass of dawn with shards of gold and red
The silent shadows creep and shrink, the land lies parched and dead

Now hear the spears a-rustling and the feet begin to stamp
As the crescent of the Impi takes up its fearsome chant
And the shields are standing rattling, Assegai making sign
While the soldiers in their tunics shiver all in line

Then the warriors are running from a signal on the hill
A wave of ostrich feathers, now commanded to be still
And the Regiment are waiting as it forms to make a square
As silent prayers are spoken for the loved ones in their care

All around the skyline they can see the deadly foe
Plumes are a-fluttering as they stand there row by row
And now the ground is dancing, jumping as they come
A hundred thousand Zulu, marching out the sun

The guns, the guns are barking as the cannon spit and roar
As the spears begin a-stabbing, the rifle bullets pour
Now men are lying dying, some screaming in their pain
As the Impi keeps on running down the bloodied plain

While the bullets, they are flying with rifles burning hot
Then knives and butts and swords, each fought with what they'd got
For hour on hour they fought there, burning in the sun
as the clock of time raced onward for the ammo in each gun

Now only six are standing the rest have died so swift
By hacking bloodied warriors all heaped within the Rift
And each of them is wounded but none will stop and cry
Of the pain that each man suffers as they fight to surely die

And then they hear the wailing moan a thousand voices strong
The ostrich plumes are dancing while stamping to their song
Then each warrior stood silent, from each there came a sigh
Bowed their heads one last time, the soldiers now must die

And the silverbacks are waiting, hear them chatter as they click
Of the scene laid out before them and the fear that makes them sick
As the jackal start a laughing the deer it runs in flight
For the land is all a-quiver and the lion feeds tonight


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