If you want a good conversation
birds should be your first choice,
wading birds at the top of the list,
although you still have to be quick
for if you meander they will lose interest.
Animals are to who you should turn
if you need advice on getting through
the omnipresent obstacles life raises
to impede your smooth passage through it,
but note cats tend to be pithy and easily bored.
Cows and horses in the fields
have almost infinite patience, and listen
when others would turn away, but note
that they are easily distracted so it is best
to keep a handful of hay at the ready always.
And, remember to bring your dictionaries
for birds and animals will speak to you
only in their own languages despite the fact
that they fully understand yours, but do not
deign or desire to be thought of as human.
If you close your eyes
you can imagine that this garden
was once a tropical jungle
as imagined by some clever
Floridian striving to separate
more tourists from their
dwindling travellers checks.
It has been carefully done over,
plants native and ornamental
replacing the vines and trees,
the alligators, real and imaginary
gone, now an exhibit of Lego animals,
the orchids in bloom, and
you wonder why anyone
once came here in the old days.
Nature has a way of applying
a perfect logic that eludes
its most complex creatures,
we claiming to be first among them.
Nature grants the housefly
a quite short life, but allows it
to see a thousand images at once,
a lifetime of vision in mere days.
The tortoise is consigned to crawl
along at a laggard’s pace, outrun
by other animals, who will be in
their graves in a tortoise’s middle age.
Birds must muck in the soil
for sustenance, or hunt small
creatures aground, but they have
the ample sky for a home.
Humans, well we have no such
luck, blind to all around us, rushing
always headlong into death, and only
dreaming of being free from earth’s grip.
It has rained for uncounted days on end
and we half expect one of our neighbors
to begin building an ark, so we look
through the falling drops for pets to line up
in double file ranks, seeking selection
for a journey they know must be coming.
Overhead, the dove sits in the maple
knowing his time to star will soon arrive
but unsure where there could possibly be
a Russian olive tree within flight range
but then, as the sewer drains overflow
he knows any branch will complete his work.
The sun finally appeared this morning
and the weatherman now predicts a drought.
So when Noah finally docks the ark
on Mt. Ararat, or wherever, how
does he decide which animals get off first?
And for that matter, the earth having
been flooded for weeks, just what
are they supposed to eat on new land?
For the vegetarians it must have been
very slim pickings, and who wants
a badly waterlogged salad anyway?
And with two of each only, what
did the carnivores actually eat?
If you stop and think about this
long enough you are left to wonder
just how many species were sacrificed
to God’s little tamper tantrum, and
let’s not mention how three sons
and mom and dad, the sole survivors
managed to repopulate the world.