Man-made Savannahs

At Orlando’s Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge,
a guest is offered convenient views of African herbivores -
antelopes, giraffes, and zebras - with no predators to dodge,
all living serenely within artificial savannahs forever more.

Savannah - such a melodic, pleasing word, that when heard
by me always evokes warmest memories of boyhood, when
vacations were at Savannah Beach in the sun getting an absurd
tan from hours swimming, crabbing, surfing in the vast ocean.

Across this immense expanse lies Africa, from whence
came the ancestors of the Disney animals, captured
and enslaved like black Africans centuries prior, hence-
forth to live an altered lifestyle in America. Now nurtured

in a man-made compound, these herbivores’ lives would seem
ideal - pampered, safe, never knowing either starvation or
thirst, never hunted by lion or man. But, do they never dream
of running across the vast African plain, being free once more?

If given the chance to decide, would they now be willing to trade
for a return to Africa instead of this American life fate has made?

Harry Edward Gilleland      11.25.02