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A Lament for Bats

New Brunswick is losing its bat population to white-nose syndrome. Grand Manan poet Wayne Clifford was inspired to write a poem about the loss.

A Lament for Bats 

The late twilight's darks are simply dark. 
The birds have settled in and nothing flies 
except the blood lust making buzz. 
The stark 
of moon is drained of rising's blush, and dries 
a far and bone-bleached white. But there! 
is nothing.... 
Once, I thought, I'd hear the cries 
that echoed bugs if I'd just take the care 
to stand that still, and hold my breath, and poise 
my frame into a sort of aural stare, 
but never could I catch a chirpy noise 
nor webby rustle of a velvet wing. 

What can I know of rites that night employs 
to bring its children out from dream, or fling 
them off into forever? Someone's boot 
brought home a fungus, a bit of whitish thing 
that grows in bats, and turns my question moot. 

No acrobat now juggles in its arc 
mosquito whine. The pale, old nursemaid's mute. 
And bits of dark don't flit. They're simply dark.

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