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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Binturong


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File:Binturong in Overloon.jpg

Binturong (Arctictis binturong) at Overloon, Netherlands: photo by Tassilo Rau, Summer 2004




The Binturong
or bearcat
is neither bear nor cat

It dwells
in the trees
of the rainforest canopy

Eats fruit eggs
shoots leaves
birds and small animals

Its only natural enemy
man
who cuts down the rainforest

Not many Binturong left
when cornered vicious
when happy emits

Chuckling sounds
Bushy prehensile tail
like a fifth hand

Fully as long as its body
Swings along by it
through the trees

Leaping from branch
to branch
Rotates its head backwards

So that claws grip
as it climbs down a tree
head first

Scent of Binturong musk
reminiscent of cornbread
and hot buttered popcorn

Brushes its great tail against trees
and howls
to announce its presence

To other Binturong
It's been here all along
Maybe not much longer





File:Young pet bear cat in Taman Negara Malaysia.jpg
 A young bear cat kept as a pet by Orang Asli in Taman Negara (Malaysia): photo by Bart Van den Bosch,16 August 2004

File:Head arctictis binturong JdP.jpg

Head of a binturong (arcticts binturong), Jardin des Plantes, Paris: photo by Jastrow, 2006

4 comments:

SarahA said...

I always take something new away with me, each time I read you. Thank you for that, Thomas.
'To other Binturong It's been here all along Maybe not much longer' that's a 'take with me' thought.

billymills said...

Tom, a touch of the Marianne Moores here? And that's a compliment, believe me.

TC said...

They say you can't take it with you. But I shall happily take these kind words from my fellow poets with me, through the day, as I swing through the trees by my bushy tail.

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom, thanks for sending me to this one, and yes, keep on swinging through those trees, dude!