Silenced under a blanket of heat, the dark inert night
holds its breath, strains to hear the unvoiced whisper,
seeks signs of spirit, any reason for hope.
A train whistle calls out across the lonely sky.
Lungs lined with fine brown dust, each creature still.
Waiting. Hoping. Praying. Tears long since dry.

The moon reflects vulture-picked bones, deathly white and dry,
but she brings no chill to the deep airless night.
Even the incessant cicada lies voiceless and still.
A drawn-out sigh of a worn aardvark creates not even a whisper.
Gaunt trees raise their spindly fingers to the barren sky
while below the labyrinthed termites are encased in terracotta hope.

Patient panthera with crust-coated eyes, dares to hope.
The immobile cubs sprawled abreast her teats, cracked and dry,
will again playfully pounce and wrest glory from the sky.
Like statue stands the quill pig through the night
striving to unearth the faintest whisper
of breeze, but yet the bush is deathly still.

While all seems lost, surrender but a waft away, still
there beats within each creature some forgotten hope.
Then comes a subtle suggestion of a whisper,
a minute stir of cool draught, a curious fragrance atop the dry
crackling wild domain which lies beneath the static night
and a distant murmur echoes across the sky.

In the periphery (could it be?) a rip in the starless sky
but as eyes turn to look it closes into swift still.
As heads return to earth (there it is!) a rumble in the night.
(And yes!) another flash. A distant scent of green hope.
Minutes like hours pass. (Now nothing.) But in the dry
air there passes like a phantom, a voiceless whisper.

Then it starts.  Pit!  Pat!  Pitter!!  Patter!!  The soft whisper
of fat full drops falling from the night sky
hitting the dust, sending small clouds of dirt so dry
into wet wind, washing the world, making mad mud, still
pounding the earth, running rivulets of sweetness.  Hope
is brought to fruition as the heavens crack open the night.

The small quiet whisper in the dark still
has opened the sky and brought bountiful hope
to the once dry land of the African night.

 

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SESTINA!  Yes, over at dVerse Victoria is challenging us to write a Sestina.
It is a long poetic form written with six words which get repeated at the end of each line.
I’m not lying, this was really a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.  And I am not fully satisfied with this piece and will probably continue tweaking it over weeks to come.
But it was a great challenge and I encourage you to join us!