Sunday, 23 October 2016


Dear Reader,

                                                                                            A Silverback Gorilla

I feel very drawn towards Kumbuka, the 29-stone Silverback gorilla that escaped from his enclosure at London Zoo last week after a cage door was left open.  He found his way through two unlocked gates, and let himself into the food store, where he consumed nine pints of undiluted black currant squash during his hour of freedom.  Armed police were called to the zoo and Kumbuka was found, tranquillized, and moved back to his 'Gorilla Kingdom'.  Apparently he is a lovely gentle character and, although he bangs tree trunks and windows, it is just 'display behaviour'.  The life span of a gorilla is normally between 35 and 40 years, and they are considered highly intelligent animals.  Like other great apes, gorillas can laugh, grieve, and have rich emotional lives, developing strong family bonds.  I hate to think of any beautiful, clever, sensitive animal being shut up in a small unnatural space for people to gawp at and only wish poor Kumbuka had leapt over the enclosure wall and escaped to the freedom to which he is entitled.  I must say, though, that I feel comforted knowing that he found his way to the undiluted black currant squash and then obviously thoroughly enjoyed drinking it.



The woman stares at me
into my rheumy eyes, my sad face
sees a dusty, dirty animal
mud sticking to my coat
my miserable tail hanging loose
my hooves cracked, hump matted.

But I want her to know
that this is not me.
I came from a land of warmth
of sun, of sand,
my Arab owner loved me
understood me
he spoke to me softly
he stroked my coat.
He rode on my back
Kelim rugs hugging my haunches
water in large panniers
strung to my side.
We rode to oases, to Petra Rose,
he was my friend
I weep for the want of him.

The woman walks away
but something glistens on her cheek.


With best wishes, Patricia


Anonymous said...

I loved the guerrilla story too and was glad for his moment of freedom. What we do to animals is so often too cruel to contemplate.
Your camel poem is so moving for its touch of humanity. Xx

Rebecca Abrey said...

What a lovely encounter! I do hope the camels don't really have memories of freedom in faraway lands...a zoo is hardly comparable. Thank you for another thought-provoking poem.