a Gunnison's [prairie dog] sees a
an alarm, it doesn't simply
"Predator!" It actually
says, for example,
"Tall dark thin
man!" With humans,
scurry into their burrows, then pop their
back out to watch.
so long nature never said a word.
storms harangued or seas would rage,
thrush or skylark would be heard
warn, or trees to whisper in the winds,
knew that we were standing just offstage,
our voices, speaking their many minds.
if they could speak, we had speculated,
love us, care for us, or be profound
least in their uncaring; so we waited,
them speechless even as we sought
speak some sentence into every sound.
was the nature of the world we thought.
we have intercepted on the prairie
sentries calling to the clan,
finally cracked the code: "Sh!
to your homes.
dark thin man
The Silent Partner, Story Line Press,
1994. Reprinted by permission of the author
and Story Line
Press, Ashland, Oregon.