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Group Five

91 Vulture

92 Wasp

93 Waterbug

94 Whale

95 Wolf

96 Worm

97 Xema

98 Xenopus

99 Yak

100 Zebra

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THE WOE OF A WHALE

Life is not easy, Holy One,
        For whales here in the ocean
One hundred twenty feet in length,
        A blubber blob in motion.

        Old dinosaurs grew ninety feet
        But then their growth would quit.
        Blue whales are bigger!  In our mouths
        An elephant would fit!

Yet we've no teeth!  We dine on krill:
        More creatures ought to try it!
Too wee to see, krill makes you fat
        No matter how you diet.

        (Since I grow large on teeny fish,
        Mere microscopic elements,
        Would I grow smaller if I ate
        Large buffalo and elephants?)

Some 40 million years ago
        My ancestors went swimming,
And ended up becoming whales
        Who have this problem slimming.

        Please make me smaller, Holy One,
        And I will sing your glory
        And smack my tail as applause
        For my weight-losing story.

My heart will beat with love for thee,
Though it beats rather slowly,
Nine times a minute is my pulse,
A pace serene and holy.

        So hear my prayer and help me shrink,
        And feel less irritation,
        And leap more high above the waves
        To show my exaltation.  




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

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