Supreme he ruled the pride at peak of prime;
As king he mated, came to join the kill.
His roars deep rumbled far through space and time
To claim domain on scrub and grass and hill.
Potential rebels then and prey felt fear,
Respect for dagger teeth, his strength and skill.
Now five years on and weak from wounds that sear,
Forced out by fierce marauding males, he lies
On dry and barren earth without his sphere.
His flank ripped raw by tooth and claw now dries
Like fire in noonday sun; his mane is torn
And flies converge to strafe his tiring eyes.
He grunts in pain, a paw deep pierced by thorn,
A hunger raging through his gut that stings.
Hyenas close, their fangs by blood now drawn.
But springbok pass and still to life he clings.
He lifts his head, his wounded frame and springs.