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Non-ants and animal whimdom

  • 24 July 2017
 Selected poems

non-antsants don’t sleepelephants weeppresidents creepoolong teas steepand we observedictators servegoosekillers swerveignorance hits curveart shows verveand we obsessrabbits stresstortoises presspaedophiles confesscorporations blessand we objecteagles expectbears rejectjudges neglectraiders protectand we obdureclasses with fixed viewcertainties de jourpick your own führerleave cultures to rueas non-ants sleepAnimal whimdomFlighty as a songbird, a starling, crow or eagle,oniscine, sturnine, corvine or aquiline;dogged as a wolf, a fox or a beagle,lupine, vulpine or plain old canine;homo sapiens come in all shapes and sizes –their manner, parts, in sum, bearing no great surprises.Haughty as a peacock, or expectorating camelpavonine and cameline, that one or two-humped mammal;proud as kingly lion, or she-bear mid-rampage,leonine and ursine, or timid sheepand grouse ovine and tetraonine.Humans slake their thirsts like the deer cervineand cow bovine, enjoying o’er-heaped dessertslike the sow porcine and goose anserine.Quick as wasp or mongoose, vespine or herpestine.Deadly as snake or panther, anguine or big arse feline.You’ll meet a liquid woman, swim past an aquatic manwhose languid depths and epiphets suggest a timeless span.Like carp and teeming fish, cyprine and piscinethey’ll descend with dexterous swish to shoals you can’t divine.They’re preyed upon by folks who’ll swoop on them like fowl –gull laridine, duck anatine; exponents of the Dão.And then there are iconoclasts, like ostrich and kangaroostruthionine and macropine – try guessing where and what they’ll do.Fight or flight as they re-make the world or their worldview;like hare leporine or horse equine their speed can rescue or undoif predators should chart their course and catch them in a jagged turn.Humans may present remorse but watch and see if they will spurnthe chance for self-promotion or advancement of their cause.A’feared of animal savagery wild? Fey humans exceed their roars. 



Barry Gittins is a communication and research consultant for the Salvation Army who has written fo Inside History, Crosslight, The Transit Lounge, Changing Attitude Australia and The Rubicon.