Adam’s Naming Of The Animals (or The Fall Of The Collective)

 

Paradise New

 

 

Adam in the Garden,
Full of vain imaginings,
Flatters himself
That only he is Chosen,
Made “In the image,”
Unique among his fellow beings;
In every sense, (he fancies,)
Superior
To his animal kin.

He fixes his eye jealously
On the forbidden tree
Of Knowledge,
(Not wisdom, notably);
A knowledge
That will shatter
Primordial unity –
Bringing Death
In its wake.
A knowledge
That will divide,
That will dismember;
Turning the Divine blessing
To “LIVE!”
Into its polar opposite:
…EVIL.
A Knowledge
That shines only
A Luciferian light,
On his potential
For Darkness.

Now armed,
He gives himself permission,
(The Bible written down by Man after all,)
To name and shame
His fellow beings –
In preparation
For what’s to come.
A plague of rats, he decides,
A nuisance of cats,
A scourge of mosquitoes.
A troubling of goldfish,
An intrusion of cockroaches,
A badling of ducks.
A rabble of insects,
A bellowing of bullfinches,
An implausibility of gnus.

Determined
Not to recognise
The individual –
The conscious,
Gendered,
Individuated,
Being:
Sentient,
Sapient,
Suffering,
He settles on:
A horde of crows,
A knot of toads,
A clutter of spiders.
A swarm of ants,
A bloat of hippopotamuses,
A harem of seals.
A pit of snakes,
A quiver of cobras,
A shiver of sharks.

Throwing Oneness
To the wind,
And all Divine caution
To eat only
The green herb,
The seeded fruit –
He opts instead,
To turn his stomach
Into a charnel house,
And decides for:
A clutch of chicks,
A down of hares,
A gulp of swallows.
A parcel of hogs,
A bouquet of pheasants,
A plump of partridge.
A fry of eels,
A lap of cod,
A steam of minnows.

He manifests his Master plan
To enslave his brethren;
To set them to
His dirty work –
To dominate
Subjugate,
Turn a blind eye
To being.
To commodify instead.
He recasts
The Creator’s free-born,
Beloved,
As live “stock.”
And with that envious eye
Focused only
On his own future gain,
He proposes:
A leash of deer,
A brace of buck,
A yoke of oxen.
A cartload of monkeys,
A rag of colts,
A string of ponies.
A kennel of dogs,
A drove of asses,
A caravan of camels.

To those
Who were created,
Just as he was,
On the same day
(After all)
As NEFESH CHAYA  [1]
He dishes out cruel violence.
Abusing all codes
Of inter-species fellowship,
Over-riding
The clear commandment
Not to kill,
He wields his newly acquired will:
A fallen tyrant.
He decides on:
A fling of dunlins,
A hurtle of sheep,
A trip of stoats.
A drought of fish,
A smack of jellyfish,
A wreck of sea birds.
A murder of magpies,
A boil of hawks,
A destruction of wild cats.

Animal intelligence
Is quickly nullified,
And tactically vilified as:
A shrewdness of apes,
A deceit of lapwings,
A dissimulation of ground birds.
A skulk of fox,
A mischief of mice,
An unkindness of ravens.
A scold of jays,
A confusion of guinea fowl,
A piteousness of turtle doves.

The rotten apple-eater
Projects his own weaknesses
Onto others.
A pride of lions, he insists:
A pomp of Pekingese,
An ostentation of peacocks.
A stubbornness of rhinoceroses,
An obstinancy of buffalo,
A murmuration of starlings.
A fever of stingrays,
An intrigue of kittens –
A glare of cats.

The bloody killer
Pleads a case of self-defence.
A gang of weasels, he claims:
A posse of turkeys,
A mob of emus!
A pandemonium of parrots,
A siege of bitterns,
A battery of barracudas!
A muster of storks,
An army of caterpillars,
An ambush of tigers!

What Adam fails
To understand, however,
Is that the Creator
Sees things
Quite differently –
A host of sparrows!
An exaltation of larks!
A dazzle of zebras!
A school of whales…
A wisdom of wombats…
A culture of bacteria…
A rhumba of rattlesnakes!
A band of coyotes!
A cast of crabs!
A richness of martens,
A family of sardines,
A memory of elephants!

When God restores
This paradise planet,
And deposes the human usurper,
Adam will be humbled
By the gaze of racoons,
The watch of nightingales,
The cry of hounds.
He will plead with
The coalition of cheetahs,
The congress of salamanders,
The parliament of owls.
He will pray for mercy to
The congregation of plovers,
The crowd of porpoises,
The convocation of eagles.
He will beg to join
The coterie of prairie dogs,
The charm of finches,
The walk of snails.

 

Heidi Stephenson
Graphic: Claire Palmer

 

1 Both non-human animals and human animals are equally described as NEFESH CHAYA in the Hebrew Bible: as ensouled beings. Subsequent translators chose to ignore this, however, and to describe only humans as ensouled beings. A false division was created. All references to animals being ensouled “nefesh” were dropped. Only the word “chaya” was focused on, which was translated as “living creature” (and without a soul, by deliberate implication). This is the origin of describing our fellow beings as an “it” instead of a “who,” for example. Their personhood was denied.

The consequences of this have been the worst imaginable, given the hellish conditions most animals are forced to live in at our hands, and as a result of our systematic destruction of the earth.

 

 


By Heidi Stephenson

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