The Animals, All the Animals / Hymn of Praise to the Intelligent Designer

Philip Appleman

The Animals, All the Animals

At ground zero, of course,
there is nothing to report.
It’s out beyond the epicenter where
the changes are describable:

cats seared like suckling pigs,
dogs that will never chase cats again,
barbecued like chickens
on their chains.

The cities are all alike: nothing
to report. On the farms,
horses are charred in their
cinderblock stalls,
rabbits braised in their pens.

Bass belly-up in every lake.
squirrels lying at the stumps of trees;
if there were mice or chipmunks now,
they would not fear for hawks or eagles.

The only movement is the buzzing flies:
strange flies have inherited the earth.

In the cities there is nothing to report.

 


 

Hymn of Praise to the Intelligent Designer

O Clever Designer, I want you to know
I believe in you—but, as a favor,
Explain to me, please, all these mysteries
So my faith doesn’t flicker or waver.

Your intelligent windpipe will keep me alive,
And I’m grateful—but hey, were you joking
When you hooked the thing up to my swallowing tube
So I’m always in danger of choking?

O Intelligent One, whose great wisdom designed
All these intricate knee joints and hips,
This journey through life would have been very nice
If they’d lasted the whole bloomin’ trip!

O Brainy Designer, I’m glad that your cunning
Urethra affords me relief.
But why did you wrap a big prostate around it
To give me such misery and grief?

I’m OK with my abdomen—belly and guts,
And most everything you put in it—
But why did you stick an appendix in there
That could rupture and kill me, this minute?

Now don’t get me wrong, you’re a brilliant Designer.
But somehow, just every so often,
I fear that your nifty Intelligence will
Design me right into a coffin!

Philip Appleman

Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Indiana University Philip Appleman has published eight volumes of poetry, including New and Selected Poems, 1956–1996 (University of Arkansas Press, 1996), three novels, including Apes and Angels (Putnam, 1989), and several nonfiction books, including the widely used Norton Critical Edition of Darwin. His Perfidious Proverbs and Other Poems: A Satirical Look at the Bible will be published by Prometheus Books in July.


The Animals, All the Animals At ground zero, of course, there is nothing to report. It’s out beyond the epicenter where the changes are describable: cats seared like suckling pigs, dogs that will never chase cats again, barbecued like chickens on their chains. The cities are all alike: nothing to report. On the farms, horses …

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