THE ANGUISH OF AN ANGELIC YAK
I'm the trucker of the mountains,
I'm a fountain of fresh milk,
I'm the heater of the huts Tibetans make,
When I get too old to travel
Or to carry wine and silk
I'll becoming their boots and sweaters,
and their steak.
Yaks are happy to be useful,
Yaks are tickled to be loved,
Yaks are quite content to end up in a pot,
But, dear God of crowded alleys
Where we're rudely pushed and shoved,
What our masters call us daily, we are not!
Blockheads, dummies, nerds, they name us,
Numskulls, dimwits, stupid jerks!
Move your lazy bones, they shout at kindly yaks!
Devil! Monster! Clod! they call us,
Nincompoop! dope! dunce! the works!
Every awful name is laid upon our backs!
We're refined! Urbane! Artistic!
We're creative with high claims!
We're a blessing from on high - but no one cares!
So, dear Manager of Heaven,
Teach all people who call "names" -
They may be cursing angels unawares.
from the forthcoming book Prayers of 100 Animals A to Z, by William Cleary