Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Personal Challenge: INGWAVUMA

INGWAVUMA, LION KING

Hello, my fellow pond dwellers. Sherry here. When Shay issued me a personal challenge, she made it easy on my old gray matter - she asked me to write a poem with an animal theme, but to make it rhyme. Luckily, it was a day when my neurons were firing, and I remembered the true story of this beautiful lion, from the best book I ever read, The Mystery of the White Lions. I beg your indulgence as to the rhyming. Thank you, Shay, for the animal theme, my fave, as you know.

INGWAVUMA

The White Lions of Timbavati
are wandering through my dreams.
Enlightenment bearers,
beings as old as time's moonbeams,
born under an ancient star that fell to earth,
they carry a message:
Choose eternal darkness or rebirth.

The shaman says:
"At the end of the world, a white lion

will roar for the last time.
The sun will disappear forever from the sky.
If white lions vanish from the land,
we all will cease to be,"
too late, by then, to begin to wonder why.

Ingwavuma, Sun God, captive,
backed against the rock,
trapped, he turned and stared his hunters down.
He offered humankind a choice:
the Light, or stay forever in the dark,
our fate determined by the bullets' arc.

He walked towards them proudly, unafraid.
They chose, for they had paid.
They raised their guns.
He walked to meet his fate, his eyes old fire,
and, as he fell, his last roar dimmed the sun.

Ingwavuma died aligned with his heart star,
in the Leo constellation from which he came,
marking the proud death of a Lion King -
(they tell me Ingwavuma was his name.)
The human psyche will forever
bear the scar.

Their shots rang out.
Ingwavuma, spirit undefeated, fell.
The hunters chose our fate.
There is little more to tell.


This story is told in The Mystery of the White Lions, Children of the Sun God, by Linda Tucker, who is in love with the white lions. She formed the Global White Lion Protection Trust, and protects those she has been able to rescue in a wild sanctuary in their ancestral home of Timbavati, in an effort to keep them from being hunted to extinction. There they roam free, hunt and raise their cubs wild, but in  protected territory. 

The only other known white lions are kept in captivity, some in a compound in the USA, the others in a compound in Africa for Great White Hunters to shoot, in an enclosure where there is no escape, for a fee of $35,000, and a piece of their souls.

The courageous Ingwavuma, whom Linda knew and loved,  was not himself a white lion but was believed to carry the gene, so he would have sired white lions. He was cornered in a "hunting" enclosure. When he saw there was no escape, he did not cower. He met his fate bravely and, thereby, those hunters perhaps cursed mankind to eternal darkness. Certainly their hearts were dark.

Shaman Credo Mutwa told Linda that, long ago, a star fell to earth, after which all animals in the area where it fell bore white offspring, the few remaining white lions descending from that time. The shaman says the white lions, who have blue eyes, guard a secret that can save humankind: to turn towards enlightenment, or remain forever in darkness. He says when the last white lion is gone, the sun will disappear. It is, perhaps, the most fascinating and stirring book I have ever read.

The exact time and date that Ingwavuma was murdered is the only time the setting sun was aligned with Regulus,  the heart star in the Leo constellation, symbolizing the birth or death of a Lion King and, consequently, the birth or death of life on earth.

I posted the story of Linda Tucker and the white lions here, should you care to read more. I recommend the book highly.


26 comments:

grapeling said...

Sherry, I love this pen and the story behind it.

You've invested it with clear-eyed tenderness; the phrasing and rhyme help support the tale in a nearly modern-day Grimm story, a modern fable that, like all such tales, are rooted in truth.

And those aren't hunters. I know hunters who respect and make 'clean' kills, as it were. Those (primarily) men who pony up such fees are nothing more than cowards. ~

kaykuala said...

Nice of you take up the cause of the white lions. One need not be there physically but in writing a wonderful poem is just as noble. Great story Sherry!

Hank

Fireblossom said...

Thanks, Sherry, for taking on my challenge, and for writing this rhyming poem! I just wanted to nudge you out of your comfort zone just a little. You've done a great job and told a fascinating (and horrifying) story. To me, few things are as evil and cowardly as canned hunts. To take part in one, one must not only be wealthy, but be without soul, empathy, or the slightest scrap of heart.

You know how I love lions. I didn't know this tale, and I'm glad that, thanks to you, now I do. It reminds me of the Native American legend of the white buffalo.

manicddaily said...

Hey Sherry, great job! Agree with Grapeling, that these are not true hunters. The hunters I know deeply love the animals they hunt, and deeply care for the environment too, but when people mix money and greed with all this it definitely cahanges.

But your Poem is told delicately--it is a story itself. Very well done. And of course I agree with your main point, I am very worried about frogs and bees especially. K.

Lolamouse said...

Sherry,
I'd never heard this story/myth before, but it's so moving. Thank you for telling it in your poem. Your rhyming was delicately penned and fit perfectly with the storytelling.

Susan said...

I didn't even notice the rhyme pulled as I was by the story. This is a marvelous Shaman Sherry story, true and cautionary, learn in the wild, and we may be already doomed. The animals of the North American forests sit in a circle with us for the ritual telling, watching to see if we heard.

Susan said...

I didn't even notice the rhyme pulled as I was by the story. This is a marvelous Shaman Sherry story, true and cautionary, learn in the wild, and we may be already doomed. The animals of the North American forests sit in a circle with us for the ritual telling, watching to see if we heard.

Marcoantonio Arellano said...

like every thing else that you write, this one i enjoyed near the top. i, like everyone else that reads this will be greatful to you for bringing it to us. i will pick up the book and read it.

i echo what Fireblossom said about those that hunt corraled life for their game. we, in our american politics seem to be doing this with the poor, the immigrants, our children, our women: ...the least of us.

the breath and roar of the white lion, the squeel and snort of the white buffalo, the wings clipped from the eagle when the forests are cut and the air can no longer hold them up, the fish no longer have oxygen and dying en-mas, the howl of the wolf is being silenced by the selfish ill willed...

who are we and where do we go from here?

gracias mi amiga

Mary said...

Sherry, I enjoyed your poetic retelling of this myth & the background material you included as well. Thank goodness for Linda Tucker and her organization who is protecting white lions in her sanctuary!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Oh my friends, how lovely to come in here this morning and read so many moving messages from people who care about our world and its creatures. Thank you so much. I recommend the book highly.......it is probably the most astounding book I have ever read. I certainly agree that anyone who takes part in canned hunting is missing something in their souls.

Thank you for making my day by caring about the white lions - and the planet, for what happens to one of us, happens to us all.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Sherry, I always applaud your poetry which raises awareness of the tragedies, the inhumanities, and the ever-present exploitation of every living thing on this planet. Your love of the Timbavati lions and your faithful telling of the story is very moving. Hunting brings strong money into Africa every month of every year and greed is ever-present - it is such a heart-breaking state of affairs.

Margaret said...

Who. Would. Kill. Such. Magnificence! I will be back to read more thoroughly. Moving my daughter into her house these past few days.

Patricia A. McGoldrick said...

Sherry, thanks for sharing this moving story. I did not know about this legend and information. Your poem told the story well!

Mama Zen said...

Sherry, this is just astounding!

Kay L. Davies said...

So sad that anyone would kill an animal in an enclosure, no matter how large. Captivity is captivity whatever size the cage.
I don't know now if I could read further about this. I am already crying for the brave heart and soul of Ingwavuma, and I am a coward...not the kind of coward who would attend a canned kill, but the kind of coward who cries for the deaths of animals.
Congratulations on a deeply moving response to the personal challenge.
Love, K

Grace said...

What a beautiful story Sherry ~ I was drawn to the theme of choice, light or darkness & courage to face death head on from the hunters ~ I will check out the link ~ Very lovely response to the personal challenge ~

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Thank you, my friends. It feels like a mandate, to me, to speak on behalf of the beautiful creatures whose voices are not heard.

Susie Clevenger said...

You have written beautifully of such a majestic creature and the horror of staged killing. It breaks my heart to know how we humans treat animals. Thank you for being their advocate!!

Other Mary said...

This is heart-wrenching Sherry. I simply don't understand how hunting is a "sport." Thank you for this poem, for its beauty, heart and consciousness raising. And thank you Shay for the challenge that was its genesis.

Hannah said...

This is the perfect challenge for you, Sherry!

You brought this story to life with your poem...so many beautiful lines and the story behind the White Lions is so telling.

Thank you for bringing this to us, Sherry!

Ella said...

A wonderful challenge with a powerful response-I had no idea!
I am intrigued by your poem and all you shared with us! It is haunting and so sad the way animals are treated-by souls who are cowards!
Bravo, Sherry!

sreeja harikrishnan said...

So moved by the story and the poem.....have no words to say anything now....

hedgewitch said...

A terrifying tale with all the power of myth. You bring us the unequivocal choice of life or death which we must all make, and which in some cases is being made for our planet in spite of us. Powerful stuff.

Marian said...

wow, Sherry! this poem is soooo strong, and I think the rhyme add to its power. so wonderfully wrought, not to mention fraught. I love it. thank you for the message and your efforts. xoxo

Anwar Fazil said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lynette Killam said...

Wonderful and heartbreaking at the same time, my friend. Beautifully said, both the poem and the back story. Even as we were on our photo safari in Africa, we met people who were going to a dedicated killing lodge whilst there. One man wanted to kill his first crocodile, and his eleven-year-old daughter was hunting for monkeys!!! How anyone could do that after seeing them in the wild is a mystery to me....