A TERMITE'S TURMOIL
Hear my prayer, Great Natureís God,
Mysterious, elusive, odd.
This termiteís lost in pondering:
Lead, Kindly Light: Iím following.
Iím one of several thousand
Of termite creeps with one-track
Chewing through the woodsí
Behold: my boring destiny.
The protozoa in my gut
Help me digest birch, ash, beechnut.
Whatever comes before my path
I transform into aftermath:
Great trees that fall down
now and then
We process into earth again.
Whole houses, barns, fence posts and sheds,
We just recycle into shreds.
Alas, sometimes we undermine
Some lovely house of oak or pine,
With busy jaws that chew all night
Without a break, till morningís light.
(Itís not a life Iíd wish
If I were God and thou wert
Another trick: We can grow wings
When a lover calls or siren sings.
Then after sex our winglets wilt.
Then back to work - to work off guilt.
So, God, grant me some better dreams
With plans to build within my schemes,
So our mad chewing marathon
Might build an earth worth living on.
from the forthcoming book Prayers of 100 Animals A to Z, by William Cleary