Sounds in an African Night

The river crickets' continual background trill,

With the answering call from a merry creature here,

While two owls screech wildly from the toona tree,

And mosquitoes hum in search of their bloody food.

The moonlit thatch is rustling with courting lizards,

Disturbed by the croak of our garden friend, the frog.

Hear childhood's giggles smothered in romping grass,

And the angry shout of a husband tired and drunk.

There's a nearby sob from a mother, childless in birth,

Mingled with women-folks' chatter muffled by silent miles

But with uninhibited, clearly-echoing rhythm

The village drummer practices tomorrow night's part.


Sounds carry far in the night, especially if you're listening,

And invade far into the soul, especially if you're thinking.


November 1972