This poem, AFRICA SMILED,written by Bridget Dore in 1995 and is dedicated to Nelson Mandela. To the best of my knowledge there is no copywrite on this poem, hence me including it in this post.
Africa has a way of making international visitors feel an almost unexplainable attraction to this vast and amazing continent on which I live.
The essence of this poem perfectly sums two American travelers that I met almost 30 years ago when they invited me to share their game dive vehicle after I had an unpleasant experience with guests on the vehicle to which I was assigned.
Jim and Joanne said that I reminded them of a friend back home and a friendship was born that evening over a sundowner and snacks in Botswana, which has spanned decades and has seen us meet up for at least two safari holidays and well as a couple of dinners when they were passing through Johannesburg going back home to Colorado after visiting countries further North.
If there was a statue of an elephant at a water hole, it might look like THIS.
Seeing that Joanne has a passion for elephants, I would be remiss if I did not use an image of one in this post.
I dedicate this post to both Jim and Joanne, and thank them for the years of friendship that our mutual love for the bush and all the wildlife it contains…
And almost immediately, given the time difference, I had a reply from Joanne…
“I can’t explain how much this post means to me and our friendship all these years. What a blessing to know both of you and the love of Africa we share. The poem is perfect”.
The iconic cry of the African Fish Eagle can be heard by those both near and far. It sounds a call to all to draw near and partake in a tale as old as time. As important as a current news headline and as emotive as the sound of the wind whispering through the branches of a Marula tree.
Draw close and listen while I share an African tale that tries to explain the relationship that humans have towards the wildlife that inhabits our continent.
The call of the wild awakens a primal instinct within those who venture here from afar. As they wander the savannah or trek through the dense forests, a transformation occurs, bridging the gap between the observer and the observed. In these moments, there is no ‘us’ and ‘them,’ but rather a recognition of kinship, as if the heart perceives itself in the untamed eyes of the animals it encounters. The eye never forgets this shared moment of connection, and the heart cherishes the realization of being a part of something far greater than oneself.
This is my version of an African myth…
In the heart of Africa, a profound connection between humanity and the untamed wilderness has existed for millennia. The land pulsates with the rhythms of nature, and those who cherish the bush understand that there experiences that once seen, can never be unseen or forgotten. Here, in the embrace of the untamed, lies a world of awe-inspiring beauty, a sanctuary of life where nature and wildlife thrive in harmony. For those who love being in the bush, this connection runs deep, nurturing their spirits and leaving indelible imprints on their souls.
Amidst the dense undergrowth and soaring canopies, the African bush is a living tapestry of life and stories waiting to be unraveled. Each encounter with nature’s majesty is etched into memory, eternally etched in the heart’s gaze. From this tiny beetle to the regal lion’s commanding presence to the graceful dance of the impala, every moment in the wild unveils a profound truth: that the earth is a sacred canvas of life’s interwoven narratives, where every creature plays a vital role in the symphony of existence.
For those who love being in the bush, nature’s lessons are abundant and profound. It teaches humility, as witnessing the circle of life brings an understanding of the delicate balance that sustains the ecosystem. It teaches patience, as waiting in stillness reveals the hidden wonders of the wild. It teaches gratitude, as each encounter with wildlife and nature’s splendor is cherished as a rare and precious gift.
But with this love comes a responsibility to protect and preserve the very essence that stirs the soul. “The eye that never forgets what the heart has seen” becomes a mantra for conservation, for safeguarding the treasures of the African bush for future generations. The encroachment of civilization, poaching, and climate change pose significant threats to the delicate equilibrium of this sacred space. Those who hold the bush close to their hearts must become custodians, ensuring that its beauty endures and its inhabitants flourish.
Also serving as a spiritual haven, it offers solace to weary souls seeking refuge from the chaos of modern life. Within its embrace, time slows, and the senses heighten, enabling one to hear the whispers of the wind and feel the pulse of the earth beneath their feet. The ‘silence’ of the bush is not silent but filled with the language of nature—a language of gentle rustles, distant roars, and melodious birdsong. In these moments, introspection flourishes, and the eye absorbs the profound beauty that the heart craves to keep forever.
For me, this emotive African proverb, “The eye never forgets what the heart has seen,” encapsulates the essence of the deep connection between nature, wildlife, and those who love being in the bush. In the wilderness, the heart finds solace, kinship, and purpose. The eye, as the eternal witness to nature’s splendor, becomes an unwavering advocate for conservation.
In this dance of reciprocity, the African bush bestows profound wisdom and immeasurable wonder, leaving an indelible mark on the soul of every wanderer fortunate enough to gaze upon its majesty.
Check out the archived and current interviews… click on the image above.
All images are the copyright property of
and may not be used without permission.