Valerie J Laidlaw
On occasion, a Norse captain would arrive,
Fishermen, traders, Chris, his brother, Paul, alongside.
They gathered spices from China, and the treasures they found,
Sailing their ship over seven times the world ’round.
Paul shared with Marco books of lands far away,
Showing African Savannas where “giraffes” galloped, and swayed.
Marco, in his heart, knew that he must bring his friend, Stretch, on a trip,
Sailing to Africa upon Captain Paulson’s great ship.
Marco bid goodbye to his expectant bride,
Marlena, as she embraced their toddler child, Jose, on her side.
He told his brother, Rico,
And the others,
That before the ship he’s sailing with returns,
The rains will fall, and bonfires will burn,
And there’ll be many setting suns arising,
Upon the west and eastern horizons.
Shipmate Paul gave Marco a binder, ink, and pens,
Showing him how to draw, then write,
As they travelled along in the windswept sea,
Marco recorded his journey,
Then, as he began to illustrate,
He felt lonesome, yet, awestruck, and free.
They journeyed along the equator, and scraped along Asia in the Southeast,
Seeing flora, fauna, and many creatures, and beasts.
They stopped briefly in India, sharing in their guilded rituals, and feasts,
They saw the unusual apes on a Madagascarian isle,
Until they found a port, for their ship to be docked a while.
The eastern coast of Africa brought their journey onto the land,
Traveling inland, the natives were wonderful in giving a hand.
Stretch, the giraffe travelled well with Marco sitting astride,
Except, when the jungle became too dense for Marco to ride.
The paths were narrow, yet around each curve, along each waterway,
Were breathtaking views unlike anything Marco had seen up to that day.
Finally, the sky opened up onto a broad, endless plain,
With occasional, giant trees, rivers, lakes, and less rain.
Creatures, unmatched in variety, and stature,
Roaming freely, protected from the hunt, living a life in beauty and nature.
Excitedly, Marco spied a group of giraffes, (called a “tower)
The entourage watched Stretch with anticipation,
As Marco encouraged Stretch, cried out, and then laughed,
“For the first time in his life, Stretch will fit in, With some of God’s creatures like him,
I’m happy, yet sad, for like a dad, I will miss him!”
Marco watched Stretch shyly move in,
With other giraffes, towering above, tall and slim.
They nodded to Stretch and welcomed him,
Then, he galopped along, and away with them.
Marco returned on a Portuguese vessel,
As the Norsemen sailed on ’round the Horn,
Marco told of his adventures to the tribe, of the wild,
To Brother Rico, Marlena, and to Jose, their child,
Plus, to their babe named, Paula, newly-borne.
As the crimson sun slowly rose above the water in a new morn.