Noah’s Beasts’ Farewell after World Flood I

The flocks of herded sheep and goats, and birds
who are not herded even on the ground,
have congregated, memberships whose words
all change on rising: flock reverts to flight
and herds of cattle, antelopes and whales
strike off with courage on the lowing plains
and falling seas that trail back to the deep.

Gregarious in crowded chanted cantons
they start their droves up, seek the blue-green places
where they’re less fearful of the well-trained packs
of wolves or grouse or skinny blue-tick hounds.
One gang of buffalo and two of elk
and three of persons plying vile pursuits
surprise and gag a gaggle of forced geese.

A bevy each of roe deer, larks, and quail
survey the broods of offspring in their care.
A cast of hawks or falcons catches air
and gyres in search of badgers by the cete.

Some coots break cover, someone bags their covert.

A partridge covey and a drift of hogs
pause to celebrate larks’ exaltation.

A fall of woodcock practice autumn flight.
A gam of whales rehearses evensong.

A kennel of nefarious loosed dogs sniff
while broods of multiparous kittens mewl
at roofs where peacocks muster, and a fox
sniffs out a nide of pheasants to instruct
in nuances of her noblesse oblige.

A pod of seals bows to a pride of lions
and routs of knights and wolves sets hooks to angle
a school of fish and one of porpoises.

A shrewdness of the very smartest apes
has hatched a plan to skim a skein of geese.

A skulk of vermin rat and other thieves:
stoats steal supplies stashed by a sloth of bears.

A sord of mallards clashes on the shield
that a sounder of wild-boars sets in the woods.

A stable, mares and stallions and their foals,
stops grazing to admire the passing swarms
of insects: ants, and killer-bees, and wasps
migrating to high ground to scratch out hives.

A troop of humans, finally on the move,
trembles warrens of young big-eyed hares.

A watch of nightingales wings wistfully. They pass,
and Noah’s left with one small wisp of snipe.


Noah’s Beasts’ Farewell after World Flood I was published in Sometimes in Balance

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