Clare Hornsby

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The safety of animals

Animals are always right
They cannot do wrong
Their actions are faultless
Their faults - our perception
We stand corrected by them.

Their beauty seems free:
The whales heave and blow
Playing in a unknown world
Eagles hover for ever and
We check our bird books
To see which kind they are.

And we labour in pain, unloved
We are sad, who knows why.
We carry our errors forward
Into the unknowable future
Unstudied by other species.

I feel safer with a desolate man
Whose motives are unclear
Than a giant slow lizard
Which - the book says - is harmless.

What about us then?
The random outcome
Of the human encounter
Is a poem of danger.