Friday, 24 February 2012

Aye Aye!

Madagascar’s aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is the world’s largest nocturnal primate and probably the weirdest too. If you go out for a Malagasy moonlit stroll you are very unlikely to find one of these Near Threatened lemurs. So peculiar is their behaviour that it is hard to believe that they are distant relatives of ours! If you want to see them in action check out recent BBC films such as ‘Last Chance To See’, ‘Deadly 60’ or this clip from ‘Predators’ community conservation work of Money for Madagascar has inspired one of our supporters to write this ode to an Aye Aye.

The Finger

Can I really be looking
at a close cousin
sharing the same home planet?
More ET than aye-aye
with its witchy middle digit
on a treetrunk in the dark,
pressing damp hairy snout
close to the bark
ready to sniff out
the grub, gnaw the rotten wood, insinuate
that dark, elongated
twig of a middle finger deep
along beetle tunnels till the tip
senses the cowering larva, impales
fat flesh on one horny nail
whips it out, pushes it
between thick
lips, rolls up its orange stare in ecstasy
so like that look of glee
with which George Melly
covering Bessie Smith
would dip his fingertip into an imaginary
jelly roll
or sugar bowl
then suck in bliss.
Had the ancients met the lemur
when they dubbed the middle finger
digitus impudicus?
had they been discomposed
by that same nocturnal glare
when they proposed
obscene gesture -
giving the bird, showing the fica -
as one way to avert
the evil eye (aye)?
had they ever supposed
one could feel pity for a maggot?

Thanks to Stevie Krayer for sending in her poem.