behemoth

They are what swim, what fly, what run;
they are the eyes holding firelight
in fear-touched hunger.
They are the plural as single and the one as many;
striped and spotted, feathered and furred,
scaled or catching hair against brambles.
It is what we are, the upright in the bestiary.

We are no more and no less
than these.  Amber intelligence
blinks back at me as the eagle
strips her catch from its bones,
daring me closer to wingspan,
hooked talons, razor beak.

I have memorized the calculations
of a great horned owl skimming night silent,
adding the scrape of claw on gravel
and grass to rodent whispers
into his sum and swallowing it whole.
I sing coyote inked in packs
and running down prey
through woods I say I own,
but they are borrowed.

We say we are over them, but
they were given mouths
they were given voices
they were given breath.
If I say truth is elemental
then it is:  I am no more and no less
than this thing that bleeds and gasps,
caught in the jaws of something larger,
a link in the chain that tethers.

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to behemoth

  1. Miriam E. says:

    awh, here it is. 🙂
    marvelous work, Susan. love the last stanza!

  2. davidtrudel says:

    This is absolutely brilliant. Wonderful!

  3. ruleofstupid says:

    Well – you have asked me to get critical, so here we go. I like the poem and central conceit, these are my thoughts…

    They are what swim, what fly, what run;
    they are the eyes holding firelight in a
    fear-touched hunger dance. {flickering is implied and too obvious}
    They are the plural as singular and the one as many; {I’d like this in simile, shown not spoken – or make it simple, singular is a bumpy word and needs to be smoother}
    striped and spotted, feathered and furred,
    scaled or catching hair against brambles.
    {these descriptions could roll back into the one/many image – many hided/hidden many as one/many coats one carcass – some kind of thing so they both work for each other}

    We are, the upright in the bestiary. {the statement it is… knocks the flow for me}
    Utterly {no more no less – cliche – can it be shown, not said?}
    only

    Amber intelligence
    blinks back at me, an eagle {the eyes are already implied}
    stripping her catch from its bones,
    daring me closer to her wingspan and curved beak. {replace curved?}
    I have memorized the calculations {maybe equation? formula? are you trying to say you have the geometry of the bird – or you know what calculations the bird itself makes and have them memorised?}
    of a great horned owl skimming night silent,
    adding the scrape of claw on gravel
    and grass to rodent whispers
    into his summed eating, {nice}
    and I sing coyote inked in packs {nice} chasing moon {not convinced}
    and running down night {another night (owl) – synonym?}
    through woods I say I own,
    but they are borrowed. {yes}

    We say we are over them, but
    they were given mouths
    they were given voices
    they were given breath.
    If I say truth is elemental
    than it is:  I am no more and no less {than? do you mean Then?}
    than this thing that bleeds and gasps,
    caught in the jaws of something larger, {nice}
    a link in the chain that tethers.

    Link in the chain AND caught in jaws? If so I’d make this something – put it there… I hold the tether with reached arms even as I am caught in the jaws of something larger… or howsoever}
    And there it is 🙂

  4. Pingback: Writing Prompt | words on life and other strange experiences

  5. franzad says:

    here is mine, i am not to happy with it though, will work on the theme a bit more http://franzad.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/behemoth/

    great poem…love the 3 verse, you caught the feeling i connect with behemoth
    lets do another prompt soon, loved the inspiration!

  6. nelle says:

    Nice ride. So on the mark. There are times I wish it different, that the way it all works acquire a benignity lacking.

  7. Pingback: Behemoth – Prompt – | Ramblings From A Mum

  8. A voice for the voiceless, a plea to recognise and respect other life forms, a timely caution against human supremacist views of the animal kingdom! well done, Susan

  9. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    The last stanza is also my favorite part of this poem. 🙂

  10. “I am no more and no less
    than this thing that bleeds and gasps,
    caught in the jaws of something larger,
    a link in the chain that tethers.”

    Posted a link to our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/TheAnimalSpirits

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