Still was the camp—so deathly still
That dry twigs snapped like the Whip of Doom,
And a pale, green moon climbed up the hill,
And the shadows lay, so cold, so chill,
Shimmering shreds of gloom.
Never a sound where the men were laid
Stretched and swathed on the earthy floor,
Save for a sigh when, half afraid,
A sleeper moved, at his dream dismayed,
And sank to his sleep once more.
The moon climbed up, and she poised on high,
And looked awhile in a cold disdain,
Flashed her searchlights athwart the sky,
Lit the river that rumbled by
And took her path again.
Still was the camp—so cold, so still
In the dim dead hours before the dawn,
When a cry rang out to the far-off hill,
And marrow and bones went cold and chill,
And slumber was foresworn.
For a lion slunk in the deeper shade,
And his footfall thudded low—so low—
Over the grass of a tiny glade;
Hardly a sound—but the die was played,
And he took a man from the row.
Rhodesian Rhymes, 1909
Fotografias: João Martins Pereira