Animal dismay

On my long stay in Madagascar my thoughts turned more toward leeches the longer I stayed there. These are not the great huge leeches of the African Queen, much smaller, about an inch long by a millimeter in diameter — but in the rain forest, leeches don’t need to live in water. It’s so damp there they can be found on any leaf. Simply brushing through the the undergrowth can gain you a leech.

I recall one day I was running back to camp because a torrential thunderstorm. I acquired 30 leaches running for 6 minutes through the forest.

So I started composing little poems to indicate my appreciation of these animals.

When I was safely back in Santa Barbara, one of the local skunks tried to make friends with my cat’s food dish. So I wrote a series of snippets modeled on the children’s book, Possum come a’knockin’, by Nancy Van Laan.

When my cat died 5 May 2006


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