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Giant Pandas in POEMS


I am Bei-shung, they call me the white bear.
I am the hidden king of these bamboo forests,
Invisible with my white fur and my black fur
Among this snow, these dark rocks and shadows.

I am the hidden king of these mountain heights,
Not a clown, not a toy. I do not care
To be seen. I walk, for all my weight,
Like a ghost on the soles of my black feet.

Invisible with my black fur and my white fur
I haunt the streams, I flip out little fishes;
I scoop them out of the water with my hand.
(I have a thumb, like you. I have a hand.)

Among this sparkling snow, these rocks and shadows,
I roam. Time is my own. My teeth are massive.
My jaw is a powerful grinder. I feed
On chewy bamboo, on small creatures, fish, birds.

You call me Panda. I am King Bei-shung.

Gerard Benson.

Grandfather, Grandfather

Grandfather, Grandfather,
what do pandas say?
Grandfather, Grandfather,
as among the rocks they roll
and rather sadly play
a game that seems
to do with dreams
of places far away.
Grandfather, Grandfather,
what do pandas say?

Grand-daughter, Grand-daughter,
when the pandas play
rather sadly in the rocks
this is what they say
to one another as they seem
to remember in a dream
those places far away:
'Let us tell no one
the word that we say
softly to one another
as we roll and play.
For if they ever heard it,
the tall two-legged Understanders
who always want to know what pandas
like us love to say,
yes, if they ever heard it
they would take it away.'

George Barker

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