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Group Five

41 Goat

42 Grasshopper

43 Hawk

44 Hen

45 Hermit crab

46 Herring

47 Hummingbird

48 Ibex

49 Inchworm

50 Jackal

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THE CURSE OF A HERMIT CRAB

Begone, Wild Spirit, let us be!
We have no prayers to waste on thee,
In stolen shells, hidden, outcast,
Here we feel safe, alone at last!

        How did we get so crabby?  Lord,
        We got this way because we're bored,
        And burdened with much ridicule
        Since crabs swim backwards as a rule.

It's all because we once broke free
Of orthodox society
And chose the hermit's life sublime.
Alas, we then lost track of time!
     No bells or sundials or TV,
     Crabs still consider it B.C.
     When ways of counting are reversed,
     The higher numbers coming first.

Likewise, our clocks all backwards run
Start down from 12 and end with 1,
And counterclockwise move their hands:
Which messes up the best-laid plans.

        Believe me, hermits feel like duds
        When May rain brings the April buds,
        And one feels pinchy, stressed and sour
        When growing younger every hour.   

So now you see why crabs are cursed
With always swimming fanny first:
It fits with Time that's passing by
But counting backwards, who knows why?




from the forthcoming book Prayers of 100 Animals A to Z, by William Cleary

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