The parade begins at Midnight,
When the world is dark and quiet,
The bold hunter is prepared,
He hunts alone, in private.
By himself, he lies in wait,
And watches from his blind,
His only light - a focused moon,
That knows just where to shine.
He's opposite the watering hole,
He knows that's where they'll come,
Every night from the tangled brush,
They come there, one by one.

When an elephant approaches,
The hunter's heart may stop mid-beat,
He'll watch in awe the massive creature,
With its clumsy gait and shuffling feet.
Its body sways in silent power,
And its trunk swings with jungle rhythm,
Its final goal - the watering hole,
To drink ... to bathe ... to swim in.
Following at respectful distance,
A group of towering giraffes,
Long-legged, tall-necked, and funny-faced,
They make the hunter laugh.

Prancing in behind them,
Dancing zebras then appear,
Striped steeds, snorting and cavorting,
Yee Haw!  Look out!  They're here!
Big kitty cat-like lions,
Next saunter out with pride,
They own the watering hole, you know,
The others step aside.
The lions swish their tails, content,
The parade continues on,
The wide-eyed hunter still keeps watch,
And plans to do so, until dawn.

The hunter has no guns,
But if he did, he would not use them,
He loves every creature that he sees,
And never would abuse them.
The walnut pen enclosing them,
Cannot keep them in their place,
For every night at Midnight,
Each seeks more breathing space.
When his Dad first hung the picture,
On the wall, opposite his bed,
His Mom feared he might have nightmares,
But she kept her thoughts unsaid.

Little did she realize,
The joy the boy would get,
When every night at Midnight,
He'd peek from 'neath his coverlet.
"Come out!  Come out!" he'd softly shout,
To his friends up on the wall,
And each one came from the walnut frame,
Until he'd called them all.
Then, later when he fell asleep,
They'd go back into their pen,
And, at dawn, when the lad awoke,
They were in the frame again.

Though he studied hard the picture,
He could not figure out the way,
The animals could leave at night,
And yet return by day.
But now with them back in place,
And the watering hole near dry,
He wiped up all the tell-tale drops,
Before they caught his Mother's eye.

Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
Copyright September 2002

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