Caterpillar

Copyright © 2010 Michael J Emerson

This work is registered with the UK Copyright Service.

ARBOREAL GROOMING


So we’re all sitting there in the tree

and this one says, why don’t we go down

to see what sort of stuff is happening

and if maybe some of it might be useful.


The rest of us just looked at each other

then turned our eyes up to the branches

as we carried on munching berries,

watching caterpillars climb the trunk.


But this other one kept going on about

how we should stretch ourselves,

make a bit more of our lives

as they felt pretty special and all that.


We got fed up with it after a while

and we told this one that if it thought

it was such a good idea then it should

get down there and do something about it.


So it did and to our surprise most

of the younger ones went with it;

without so much as a good bye

or a thank you for all the grooming.


They’ve been gone so long we can’t

recall their faces or who bore them

and we hear things on the grapevine

about a new tribe beyond the trees.


They say this tribe carry pointed sticks,

sharp rocks; take lightning from the sky,

set it on the ground, dance by it’s light

thumping and gibbering all night.


They have forgotten how to groom,

their fur is matted, falling out in clumps;

when they walk they go on two legs,

knuckles raised above their heads.


The caterpillars still climb the tree

but we watch for shadows on the floor,

lament the loss of our children,

      hope they will never return.