One of my tutors at University, John Whitworth. MA. BPhil (Oxon), Author and Poet, during a tea break, told of when he was a babe in India, in a cot on a verandah, when a Leopard cub approached and was shot. I just had to write a poem of this incident, as if I was the leopardess, watching this tragedy from the nearby jungle. I dedicate this to John.
I’m a leopardess, high on the bough,
proudly watching my little cub stalk,
that butterfly, that’s landed now,
so close to where men talk.
He’s climbed the step, a cot lies there,
a human babe within.
Two innocents in the jungle share,
a pure innocence, though never kin.
A loud shriek of fear from the ayah,
I scream to my cub in dread.
a man with a gun, a slayer,
shoots my sweet innocent dead.
The human babe cries at the noise,
the man said,” He was nearly gone,”
The ayah in a husky voice said,
“Thank god, we still have John.
I lay on my bough, my cub below,
never again to laugh with me.
That young John will be allowed to grow,
While I grieve in this jungle tree.