Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

Survival: The Unholy Land
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The lizard depends on speed and agility,
Chameleon relies on baffling camouflage ―
    The saurian is older than the Syrian.

The emmet depends on subduing the self
To a mechanically perfect Marxist economy ―
    The ant is more successful than the Israelite.

The wheatear, the whitethroat, the wagtail fly south
To find a new season in a new hemisphere ―
    The birds migrate without impedimenta.

Men put their hats on their heads in the synagogue,
Men take the shoes off their feet in the mosque ―
    Then go outside and rattle off machine-guns.

Reptiles distil the wisdom of antiquity,
Ants have invented flawless kibbutzim ―
    Birds have the knack of adaptation.

Does Allah weep, Adonai rend his garments?
The hyena laughs, he has a full belly ―
    Vultures are great opportunists.


1977
The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983