Monday, August 13, 2007

Saved by the Dodo

The animals were worried, they were shivering with the cold,
As they all tumultuously assembled in the hold.
The makeshift candles threw an eerie shadow in the dark,
While giant waves did toss and turn the flimsy, fragile Ark.
The chimpanzees and gibbons were arranging all the seating,
The ocelots were trying hard to stop the sheep from bleating.
The mice and rats were frantically avoiding paw and hoof,
And all the birds precariously were perched up on the roof.
The lion lay upon a crate, surveying the confusion,
“Could we have a bit of hush?” he called with great effusion.
The general clamour died away, the sheep gave up their bleating.
The lion cleared his throat again and then addressed the meeting.
“Twenty days and twenty nights, it hasn’t once stopped raining.
I’ve listened to you wittering and endlessly complaining.
You’re frightened that you’ll never more set foot on terra firma.”
From somewhere in the darkness came a weak assenting murmur.
“Should we trust this Noah?” asked the lion, with a glare,
“When all he’s done has brought us into darkness and despair.
There’s two of every kind of us, each lizard, beast and fowl…”
“There’s sixty of the rabbits!” called out ever-watchful Owl.
The lion let the tittering pervade across the floor,
Then, tossing back his fiery mane, he held up his right paw.
“There’s two of every kind of us,” he carefully repeated,
“And only eight poor human beings,” he cunningly completed.
Silence fell upon the crowd, the parakeets stopped preening,
As everybody present tried to grasp the lion’s meaning.
Not a squawk or twittering was heard among the birds,
Who knit their brows in puzzlement at these rebellious words.
At length the crafty vixen broke my claustrophobic silence,
“Am I correct in thinking that you’re advocating violence?”
The lion gazed around the room and not a creature stirred,
“I think you know exactly what I’m getting at,” he purred.
“Ever since the world began, these humans have been masters,
Responsible for all the ecological disasters.
He hunts us with barbarity, and not alone for food,
But also for amusement, which is bestial and crude.
The food chain has slipped from the cog, and all because of Man.
It’s been this way the very day that humankind began.
The time is sorely out of joint, if anyone needs proof,
Just climb the stairs onto the deck and sit upon the roof.
There’s water, water everywhere, too much for us to measure.
Could there be a surer, clearer sign of God’s displeasure?
The only real way for Nature’s Law to be restored,
Is if we throw the eight remaining humans overboard!”
The animals were mesmerised, and even Tiger blinked
At the thought that they should wilfully make humankind extinct.
The ostrich thrust his head down through a knothole in the wood
But then withdrew it quickly, lest he perished in the flood.
“But Noah is a gentle man,” the nervous donkey frowned,
“If he had not have brought us in, then surely we’d have drowned.”
“I agree,” the panda called, “This man has saved our lives.
Without him, we’d be feeding sharks, along with our dear wives.”
“Point taken,” said the lion with grace, “Old Noah’s not too bad,
And Shem and Ham and Japheth seem to take after their dad.
But think upon the future now, and all of our descendants.
Can any of us guarantee our children’s independence?
For Mankind is a fickle being, he acts in desperation.
He’ll swing from good to bad within a single generation.
This is the opportunity to safeguard our survival!
It’s for our children’s sakes that we must kill our greatest rival!”
And so, into the wee small hours, continued the debate,
Which might have had the consequence of sealing mankind’s fate.
The animals all spoke in turn, for each one had a view
On what, on balance, was the proper thing for them to do.
The lion had a valid point, the tiger did concede,
And, by and large, the majority of animals agreed.
But, as the morning light appeared, the dodo took the chair,
And faced the mutineers with a simple, thoughtful air.
“I see your instincts faltering, I see your thirst for blood.
I see you’re going to kill this man who saved you from the flood.
I see you’re out for vengeance and I won’t stand in your way,
But, ‘ere you do the dirty deed, just hear what I’ve to say.
The lion’s right, I can’t deny that humans treat us rotten.
Their evil acts of savagery can never be forgotten.
They’ve brutalised our fathers in the not-too-distant past,
And, under their cruel sovereignty, there’s few of us can last.
But if we do this dreadful act, what do we stand to gain?
Our innocence will vanish and we’ll bear the mark of Cain.
If mankind drowns, then rest assured that things won’t be the same,
For evermore our guilty hearts will harden with the shame.
For we will be no better than these humans we despise,
And when we see each other, we’ll see murder in our eyes.
The strong will rule in mankind’s place, the weak will disappear,
And all the creatures of the world will live their lives in fear.
And yes, if we let humans live, we may expect the worst.
Some species might well be destroyed, and mine might be the first.
Those who follow after us might well have cause to grieve,
But we will die with dignity, which Man can ne’er achieve.”
And as the dodo mournfully stepped down onto the floor,
The animals all rose as one and gave a mighty roar.
The noise was such it caused young Shem to glance into the hold,
“Those poor dumb beasts,” he sadly sighed and shivered with the cold.

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