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THE TURTLE'S THANKSGIVING

Dear God, amid life's battle I give thanks
Our forebears once evolved to walking tanks,
Tough-skinned as any buffalo or yak,
On land or sea safe-havened from attack.

We systematically call all things cursed:
Four-footed, two-footed, wing'd: which one is worst?
All but our turtle clan we shall distrust,
None is a friend -- for fear them all we must.

Still we have need of you, God of the Skies,
Give us this day, will you, our daily flies?
And please forgive our trespasses as well
Even if we won't come out of our shell!

Ah, what a shame this world is fashioned thus,
Dangerous, warring, full of hatred-plus,
I beg, dear God, no worse things come to be -
And everyone hides inside shells like me.




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

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