The Leopard Man

Once, deep in the heart of the hamlet
A terror strikes in the dead of the night
Tears, blood trails, and fresh paw marks

After the moonlight comes a deep roar
From the forests that live with the hamlet
A terror descends upon the quietness
Two small balls of light ravage the village
In the pitch darkness of a moonless night
Scaling the thatch fencing and in a “Maah!”
Giant goats and cattle get missing
The dogs bark angrily and fearfully
They can only bark; the beast believed
A snarl and the dog park scatter out
And in the morning people go about
Counting the loss and growing goose pimples
And staring at the disturbed garden plants
At the back yards of unfortunate victims
The children hide behind their parents
Trying to fit their foot to the paw marks
The dogs sit like bewitched hounds
Staring at the mess the visitor brought

Back in the deepest forests of forests
The deadly beast of the night stalks
Under the bushes that are made dark
By the trees that shield the forest
Waiting for instruction, a guide
The evil that men learn, strange cruelty
The spirits of men transferred to a beast
And in such grim circumstance,
There is no mercy, no pity
There is no fear of man or attitude
For once, the spirit of a man
Is transferred to a beast
Havoc unknown to time is born

It has been known that in ancient times, some people are capable of turning to wild animals like the hyena, leopard, lions, and snakes to attack or take revenge on other people. When two occultic families engage in a dispute, most times they settle with such a fight, one is turning to a wild animal to attack another. Also, these people are a cabal of “medicine men” that can conjure men’s spirits into an animal, thereby allowing the animal to act on behalf of the man. If the animal is wounded or shot, it affects the man whose spirit it carries. To read more about this, you might like to read The Bottled Leopard by Ike Chukwuemeka, a heart touching and fascinating story of a young boy whose spirit was tied to a leopard without the knowledge of their family and his pains, adventures, and ordeal in the new school he happened to be admitted to.

The poet tries to paint a picture of such an atmosphere. This poem is by no means occultic. It is purely my imagination.
Oke- Iroegbu


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