Somewhere concealed in mopane and teak

Lies the den of some friends whose habits we keep

On ancient sand and leaf-littered floor

Kind to tired bodies and soft to the paw.               scroll down


'Oh, Brother and Sisters of the Hlangabeza pack

Hamuka the Mother keeps our species intact

So follow our leader, Smoke searches in front

The moon is high and there's light to hunt.'


Through thick understorey and soft patter on leaves

The painted shapes move with masks like thieves

For centuries maligned by humans unfair

They'll cross hostile farmland littered with snare.


With sensitive nose the alpha has paused

There’s scent in the air and they will kill with just cause

Beyond the woodland on the edge of the vlei

Is impala, kudu or duikker their prey?


'Oh Brothers and Sisters of the Hlangabeza pack

Fan out and seek for there's no going back

With stomachs empty we cannot survive

The new ones are our future and must stay alive.'


Big eared and lanky, some gilded in light

Blending like shadows in the cloak of the night

The pace has quickened and it will be a test for the strong

They have sought out their prey and the chase will be long.


Exposed on the vlei the kudu dashes for cover

The woodland's his chance and he won't get another

Frantically turning this way and that

This creature runs swiftly with no vestige of fat.


We follow behind, plotting the course

As long witnesses to nature there'll be no remorse

Should he tire in the end his death we'll forgive

For he provides the means whereby others may live.


The run is long and the brush is stinging

And each fallen obstacle is closer to bringing

The pack to it's heels and the moment of truth

For the dogs as a team are masters aloof.


The hand of fate brings the kudu at bay

And the tireless hunters close for the fray

But for those that fall to the others foil

There'll be no epitaph on this African soil.


Tearing and ripping they quickly disembowel

Evolution has given them the only way they know how

No other predator can boast such success

But they will fill their stomachs in fear nonetheless.


'Oh Brothers and Sisters beware of the cat

She is capable of robbing us without leaving a snack

Hurry good hunters make haste I implore you

And remember your manners for only a portion is for you.'


The signal is strong and soon quickens its beat

As seven dogs leave to deliver their meat

With stomachs distended and no whimper or sound

On a course that is straight to the den underground.


Greg the 'Dog Man' as he is affectionately known

Drives fast and determinedly to race the dogs home

With telemetry radio and all that sort of gear

He lives in the bush amongst his friends without fear.


Deep in dark woodland of mopane and teak

Rests Hamuka the mother with puppies so meek

Safe in a den from many enemy eyes

They patiently wait ‘til the leader arrives.


The silence is broken with unusual twitter

From an excited mother and expectant litter

They owe their place to their breeds prowess

And will soon lick and share the hunters' success.


'Oh Brothers and Sisters its time to be giver

So empty your stomachs, regurgitate and deliver

The meat of the kudu to our weanlings and Mother

For it's the law of the pack to have no other.'


Humbly in darkness we sit on the ground

Listening with Greg as he interprets the sound

Tonight we will sleep having experienced elation

With thoughts of a species that deserves admiration.

Dedicated to the friends of Greg Rasmussen PHD

C. D. McClelland © 2000