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Les Murray, “Animal Nativity”

The Iliad of peace began when this girl agreed. Now goats in trees, fish in the valley suddenly feel vivid.

Swallows flit in the stable as if a hatching of their kind, turned human, cried in the manger showing the hunger-diamond.

Cattle are content that this calf must come in human form. Spiders discern a water-walker. Even humans will sense the lamb,

He who frees from the old poem turtle-dove and snake, who gets death forgiven who puts the apple back.

Dogs, less enslaved but as starving as the poorest human there, crouch, agog at a crux of presence remembered as a star.