Facing Your Fear

by Rick Brentlinger
(Pace, FL, USA)

Maasai warriors<br> courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Maasai warriors
courtesy Wikimedia Commons

In stealthy darkness through the night,
A dark-maned lion crept,
In silence toward the boma,
Where Surum, vigil kept.

One awesome leap the thorns did clear,
The bawling herd he scanned.
Then fixed a flashing cruel eye
Where Surum dared to stand.

His trembling frame, young muscles taut,
Gripped fierce the hunter’s spear;
His rushing blood, his pounding heart
Betrayed young Surum’s fear.

The tawny muscles, crouching, flexed,
The tail a tempo beat;
Still bravely faced by just a lad,
Surum would not retreat.

The milling herd grew slowly still,
The drama to observe;
The king of beasts leapt at the boy,
Surum displayed his nerve.

Against the earth he hunkered down,
Spear set against his heel;
The killer’s savage breast to meet,
His kingly blood to spill.

Engraved the image on his brain,
The awful gaping jaws;
The fetid breath, the feral scent,
Extended raking claws.

The muscled body, crashing down,
Upon the spear impaled;
Yet in the agonies of death,
At Surum’s form he flailed.

The lad, fleet-footed, leapt away,
Blood chilled at Simba’s roar;
Exultant now at victory,
He eyes the blood and gore.

Though full of fear, he stood his ground,
And fairly faced the king;
Thus won a measure of his strength
And manhood’s song to sing.

Now somewhere on a grassy veldt,
A grizzled white-haired man;
By flickering firelight tells the tale
To his admiring clan.

By memory carried back in time,
As if again, in fear;
He crouched to meet the lion’s charge,
Armed only with his spear.

And wide-eyed boys with trembling hearts
Sit listening, filled with awe;
Imagine they would be as brave
To face the lion’s paw.

And in a dusty boma there,
Another lad with spear;
Eyes wide at every sound of night,
Too, learns to face his fear.

When off across the sprawling veldt,
A kingly challenge hurled;
Reverberates the lion’s roar
As he surveys his world.

Surum is the name of a Maasai boy.

A boma is a fence made of thorns,
to protect people and cattle.

Are the heathen lost?

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