Orang Ulu

Orang Ulu short poem

Orang Ulu…
loping through mottle-green light of the jungle-track,
lighter than dawn-mist and nimble as wild-cat.
Hunt-hounds around-him are bounding and
wailing a death-hymn or baying for
deer-spoor or fat-ox or wild-boar.

Ulu agape at the edge of a clearing,
proud ebony, ironwood crashing before him;
din of tree-felling and sawing and logging,
plundering into the land-of-the-lair,
filling the air of the woods with despair.

Animals fleeing; no way of escape;
Earth-mother naked and bruised by the rape,
bleeds yellow-pus in the pure-running-river
where bones of the forest now rattle down rapids.
Change, flooding the valley,
drowning the nestling, the gibbon and python,
feeding their life-force into the pylon.

Rain, kissing the forest her final goodbyes.
Lonely in grief, tears in his eyes,
Ulu burying dogs in the shade of bamboo.
“Sleeping in nature,” the sandalwood sighs,
“dreaming forever of hunting with you.”

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In the early days I imagined myself wandering the lanes of England with a rucksack on my back and, maybe, something lively in my hip-flask. I saw myself sitting on a hill somewhere, scribbling poems and, hopefully, making enough to keep body and soul together. But life isn't like that and, after a few years at sea and in the army, I found myself with a wife and kids to keep. So now, with three novels wallowing on Kindle, I scribble the odd rhyme by way of a hobby and shove it on my blog. Hope someone out there finds them interesting.
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And your poem has captured that in a delightful way, albeit a sorry state of affairs. Mans greed never ceases to amaze me