Noël SweeneyFrom

Animal Rights Poetry By Lee Slonimsky

Of Mice and Time

(for Edna St. Vincent Millay’s 'Epitaph for the Race of Man')

A hundred million years ago, and more,
the pterodactyls soared, and mammals dashed
and scurried: ancient shrews. Down on the floor
of giant forests, they could thrive. So fast,
they beat T-Rex's lunge, first birds' fierce dives.

Chaotic punctuation marks, they'd move
so randomly they managed to outlast
the dinosaurs. For when the meteor crashed
their burrows were secure, a year’s gray sun
no problem for their scamper, flit and nest.
Another sixty million years, a blink
of time's expansive eye, a fleeting wink
for galaxies, black holes; and here we are:

noon rays emblazon this lush patch of grass;
an ancestor emerges on the run
from stray cat's stealthy stalk. No-one would guess
that mouse may be here long after we’re gone.


© Lee Slonimsky, 2023


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