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Group Three

71 Oyster

72 Penguin

73 Quail

74 Raccoon

75 Rat flea

76 Rooster

77 Salmon

78 Seagull

79 Slug

80 Snail

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Now I lay me down to sleep,
My oyster bed is soft and deep
        Beneath the ocean's roar.
Before I drift into a dream
In glowing luxury supreme,
        I pray and I adore.

I pray the night prayers of an oyster
Warm and snug in my moist cloister
        As holy nuns of yore,
Here humbly I produce a mere
Five hundred million eggs a year:
        I wish I could do more.

And I adore creation's twirls
Where irritations turn to pearls
        Within my sacred space,
Although I haven't eyes to see,
I trust annoyances can be
        Occasions of your grace.

If I should die before I wake
I pray, dear God, my soul you'll take
        To heaven's clammy foam,
Where I can creep out of my shell
And find rich shoals where I can dwell
        Forever safe at home.

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



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