Head down I struggled step by step up knife-edge mountain tracks
When I came across a stalwart Drong;
(The Tibetan name for Yak)
He stood there in his majesty his horns a metre wide,
his girth foretold a tragedy if passed on either side.
After many hours climbing I wasn’t for turning back,
it was clear to me as it was to him,
it was either me or the yak.
I never met a yak before and was wary of his looks,
but was fortified by knowledge I’d remembered from some books,
was this in fact bos mutus the domesticated yak,
or indeed was this bos grunniens with a risk of wild attack.
I studied him quite slyly from the corner of my eye,
his colour was unusual and he stood two metres high.
The colour! The colour! I cried with joy, and again cried with dismay,
for he was the endangered golden yak, the colour of summer kissed hay.
One hundred and seventy golden yak still roam this diminishing earth,
my moments euphoric discovery left me as his eyes studied mine for their worth.
I returned his gaze and stood my ground, my reflection strong in his eyes,
he pawed the ground once, bowed his head and, lay down to my surprise.
He beckoned to me with a toss of his head to climb over his shaggy back,
which I nervously did and upon my dismount
Oh, I said what to do now? As I stood between horns and hoof.
There was no way forward, no way back, I simply couldn’t move.
Then one by one they all lay down, in a shag pile horn rimmed track.
And on an over, and over an on, I climbed across ninety nine yak.
All heading toward our destiny on track with no going back.
When finally I reached my over night stay,
my story was fuel for the fire,
but the locals mocked my magical tale,
now I ramble the mountains in ire,
a camera to capture my golden yak though the odds against it grow higher;
the less I see, the more I yearn, to satisfy my desire.
I’ll search the tracks to track down my yaks
their Golden Fleeces my quest,
until my memory’s a fantasy tale,
vanishing with yaks and Tibet.
© Howard Beaumont 2015