Sunday, 15 December 2013

'..the insouciant armadillo..'

Come into animal presence
No man is so guileless as
the serpent. The lonely white
rabbit on the roof is a star
twitching its ears at the rain.
The llama intricately
folding its hind legs to be seated
not disdains but mildly
disregards human approval.
What joy when the insouciant
armadillo glances at us and doesn't
quicken his trotting
across the track and into the palm brush.
What is this joy? That no animal
falters, but knows what it must do?
That the snake has no blemish,
that the rabbit inspects his strange surroundings
in white star-silence? The llama
rests in dignity, the armadillo
has some intention to pursue in the palm-forest.
Those who were sacred have remained so,
holiness does not dissolve, it is a presence
of bronze, only the sight that saw it
faltered and turned from it.
An old joy returns in holy presence.
"Come into animal presence" by Denise Levertov, from Poems: 1960-1967. © New Directions, 1983. Reprinted by permission.

I stood and watched 2 reindeer breathing today. Their big sides went up and down. It is odd to be able to stand for as long as I wanted, watching them trapped in a fenced area in the centre of the town.

On the way back from London a few days ago I caught a brief glimpse of a huge pale brown owl on a branch on the other side of the road. It was free and immobile. I was rushing past, yet there it was.

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