Making Noises at the Zoo

The gibbons, swinging through their cage,

bark and thrum, but the children

outbark them. As the silverback

gorilla leans his great head

on black knuckles, grave and silent,

several prancing children gibber and shrill

in front of him. A girl outcalls

the peacock, who falls silent.

In the reptile house, the children

make all the noise. Only the lion,

in a mood to roar, shames them all,

his deep, resounding chuffs echoing

out beyond the elephants,

who pay no attention, swinging

their trunks - but the children do,

pausing, for once, to listen.

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