A Poetic Bestiary
World of Marie Angel In four confined inches a brush accommodates her creature host: haunches of hippopotamus, flights of fritillary, owl, otter, weasel freed from the humble hairy side of a tawny piece of vellum. O perfectly terse craft, O liberal limits, O universe bountifully small. Koala No bear but podgy kin to kangaroo and possum. Oh what a thick warm rug you'd make! But who would hurt so quaint so droll a thing? From pouch and pickaback you ride pleasing into our heart. How you hang on with toes opposed: your three against your two. Just so you grasp a bough and our affection. Easy. Hoopoe O you beautiful bird, fan out your crest! You look your best in flight, crowned-plumage spread. You look your drollest tossing an insect in air, catching it then square down your gullet. Vole So small so hidden safe below my apple tree: try not to eat the bark away. A girdled bole will perish quite. Remember me. I count on laden boughs of fruit come fall. Crane fly Aerial daddy-longlegs, slow flier on narrow laboring wings. Not even a graceful pedestrian. Rather, mud's stilted clown: bizarre, endearing bug which neither bites nor stings. Stand still, let's see
on your breast a valiant V. Rose Chafer Voracious chafer, I see you love the rose. But wouldn't you liefer apply it to your nose and let the fragrance grow deeper than drink or meat? So fine a flower - but no, not good enough to eat! Quail Quail of the north, partridge of the south, perched on a fence to bruit what waking's all about: Ah, bob-white, bob-bob-white! What cheer by day! By night under an evergreen tree or secret in shrubbery what stillness where you roost your covey, circle closed like petals of a flower on the dark forest floor, feathered heads facing out. By day so loud, so loud ! By dark so silent brown daisy disc on the ground. Ursus Arctos Pure paradox, big, bulky, lumbering on a clumsy rocking gait. Yet agile, very, a veritable fastball of self-pitched mountain-poundage. Chipmunk-swift up a tree. Robbed honey is so sweet. And no bees sting. Elephant Come on, come close, deliberate, slow, so I can smell the warmish scent of elephant. and touch your trunk (a nose ?) and even count the hairs around your mouth. Where wallowing have you been: whitened, burnt ochre, dirty gray? Beside a termite mound? In mud pools of acacia woodland? South by the Endabash River? Come cover our distance. Reconnoiter. I'll lay my curve of cheek against your crescent ivory, and you will take cognizance of a fellow creature.