Second Day: Alcathoe bat (Myotis alcathoe)/ General Bat Poems/Artwork/Photos
There are eighteen species of bat in Britain and all are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. One of these species, the Greater mouse-eared bat was officially declared extinct in Britain in 1990, but there were reports of sightings across 29 locations in the UK in the winter of 2011/2012.
Bats are quite remarkable animals worthy of our interest and respect. They are the only mammals capable of controlled flight – and their aerobatic skills have to been seen to be believed! British bats eat insects and nothing else. This makes them valuable friends and allies as many farmers and gardeners seek to reduce insect numbers, as some insects can cause damage to valuable crops and flowers.
Bats by Anjum Wasim Dar
Evening shadows fell all over the lane
soon one could not discern the window pane
this one tree out of three we planted -gave
relief to heated pain, saved all from rain
but that evening it was pitch dark, the car
was parked in the shade, but wait -a sound
strange could be heard, the flurry rapid
flight of birds, small dark swooping round
left to right and right to left, flying in and
falling flat, disappearing from darkly sight
could hardly see them in the dim light-
not at full glare, wanted the birds to fly away scared.
But no, they kept coming and hovering around the car
preventing anyone from opening the door-what next
as fear increased -who had sent these bat-birds here?
small black sharp and shrill, recitation of holy verses
finally made the kill-all flew away as quickly as they
had come, and hoping that all had gone , we took the
back seat, the food basket in between us placed,
dinner to deliver at the hospital gate, trembling still
at the bat attack, cautiously moved on to the road
hardly a furlong had we gone, when sister let out
a loud scream-something shuffling, flapping dark –
Stop the car Oh Stop- Another scream, a loud screech
door crashed open-out flew a dark black bat,
somehow it had clasped the basket, and had
slipped inside -never ever so terrified was I
that night, Halloween or magic – wondered Why?
But then we knew Mother would not be with us
for long, doctors helpless signaled the Swan Song’
with food for Mother we were going, when Bats
flew around – Myths say they warn of Death –
soon soon Mother would be without life
without breath- to Heaven taken, to Heaven
-Anjum Wasim Dar
Let us begin at slant-light
with cut felt flickers,
unhooding cubic skulls,
furtive and hungry.
Trace our loopy symmetries
beneath the canopy as we feed,
follow our dance with open faces –
long diverged from the birds.
You cannot hear us but you’ll feel
our hunting song across your teeth
defiling the laws of physics
with frequencies beyond this.
Watch our velvet forms take on
three dimensions or four
as we vanish into sky space,
a filigree of apple tree
bursting into fret-work,
scraps of jinking balsa,
flicking the Vs, skimming
odd quick trajectories.
We are fickle as kits,
wombed and jewelled
with kidneys, ovaries,
rows of studded teats.
Born to kill, we are strung
on struts of steel; dissolve
in darkness to anti-matter,
a tapestry of gremlin flight
angling on planes of sound,
almost sightless, blind-to-green.
Turn your ears towards us,
bearing truths in our pitch and fall;
forest-worlds and gardens returned
in sonic negative, transformed.
Hold us in dry hands
when you find us in the woods,
stroke our underbellies
with something approaching tenderness.
(First published in Slant Light, Pavilion Poetry, 2016)
About Bats: The Chiroptera Sonnets
Home high in splits, cracks and loose tree bark,
near water. I hear it in two ways. Crash
of tumble. Soft echo in our Hunting Dark.
Trees are Hardnesses in our flying Dash.
I may swarm He may chase me. We may
retreat to Darker and make young. Suckles
in my pouch. Then let it hang, while away
I skim leaves, snatch prey mid flight, food rustle
crunchy backed echoes, always hunt echoes
back. Amongst others know it’s cry and smell.
I hold it in my wings, soon its own wings
will learn flight in the Dark, it’s ears know well
a landscape of returning sound, nose scent
of prey, weathered woods, know home’s high ascent.