Monday, May 26, 2008

For All Animals

Could I name them all,
My kindred spirits?

Husky dogs,

these thrill my soul.

gladden my heart;

amuse, and
Yet why these?
Is not the grizzly as noble,

The hummingbird as graceful,

The kangaroo as queer?

Do we all have our favorites?
You prefer cheetahs, swans, and starfish--

What do they have
in common
one with another,
each with you?

Is the connection mere experience--
The swallows, when I was a boy, built nests
beneath the eaves
outside my bedroom window--
Or a matter of aesthetics?
But I know no giraffes in person...

Something speaks to us--
The wolf's wildness to me, perhaps
The starfish's symmetry to you--
Maybe a longing
For something missing
From our narrow lives,
Something important,
And terrific,
Which we cannot name,
Yet still recognize
at the surging of our blood
When we,
by chance,
Spy a butterfly
Flutter past.

(This prayer/poem is from We Thank You, God, for These: Blessings and Prayers for Family Pets by Anthony F. Chiffolo and Rayner W. Hesse, Jr. Available from Paulist Press.)

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