Monday, April 25, 2011

Three possums

(based on suggestions from @cochineal, @jellyjellyfish and @margolanagan)

The largest of the possums is

a common one. She comes

from the Greek for ‘furry tailed’

and the Latin for ‘little fox’

and you’ve probably seen her

running along your back fence

in the dark or kicking back in

the Carlton Gardens.

She falls asleep easily and

sometimes comes a cropper

if the branch is unsteady.

She can hold the world in a hug.

The most medium of the possums

is curly and quiet in his eyes

and he smiles like an upside

down cat. He comes

from the Latin for ‘pilgrim’

but you will only see him

calm as a shrine to the night.

His tail curves like a coil of

woodsmoke, white at the tip

as a conductor’s baton

a perfect ferrule for pairing

journeys with songs.

The smallest of the possums

is outlined in kohl and walks

the tops of trees like a red carpet

she was born to make flowers

into stardom and eats

her fill of honey without breaking

the blossom. She comes

from the Latin for ‘neat’

and has a lot surface area

that can lose heat quickly.

Larger possums hold her

keep each other warm.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from three peeps:

  • @cochineal: “awards ceremonies”
  • @jellyjellyfish: “tall possums”
  • @margolanagan: “I think you should include three kinds of marsupial.”

The largest Australian possum is the Common Brushtail Possum. They're the ones you see everywhere, and (I discovered one evening after a movie) they like popcorn. Well, the ones in the Carlton Gardens do.

A mid-size Australian possum is the Common Ringtail Possum. They have long, prehensile white-tipped tails that remind me of conducting batons. I think they would make good mixtapes.

The world's smallest possum is the Tasmanian Pygmy Possum. It's the one in the picture, and it's about the size of a mouse. They're omnivorous, and when they eat pollen, they don't destroy the flower in the process. Aren't they lovely?

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