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Group Four

81 Spider

82 Starfish

83 Stinkbug

84 Swallow

85 Termite

86 Tick

87 Toad

88 Turkey

89 Turtle

90 Unicorn

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Hear my prayer, Great Natureís God,
Mysterious, elusive, odd.
This termiteís lost in pondering:
Lead, Kindly Light: Iím following.
        Iím one of several thousand kinds
        Of termite creeps with one-track minds,
        Chewing through the woodsí debris -
        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 on thee
        If I were God and thou wert me.)
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



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