Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Becoming a Silverback

image from pinterest.com 

Becoming a Silverback

“It is hard for the ape to believe he has descended

from man.”--H.L. Mencken.

I’m always saddened

to hear about yet another

endangered species.

In 2018, this label

was given to the mountain gorillas

of the Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda.

I wonder if God,

or maybe just our personal angels

and spirit guides are sad

as they witness us,

as a species, moving daily

toward our own extinction?

We seem determined

to murder the Earth,

and don’t seem to equate that

to our own demise.

I cannot prognosticate

who or what will arrive first--

Jesus or the bull asteroid.

One brings salvation,

the other destruction;

mass ascension or cremation?

9 million years ago,

that group of primates

that would become gorillas.

split off from humans and other apes.

Often I feel more ape than humanoid.

I am about 5’7” tall,

the same height as an adult

Silverback gorilla.

They weigh in at 400 pounds.

At 260, I would be considered puny.

Some men still have the remnants

of a sagittal crest--I’ve lost mine.

We certainly differ in our diets,

gorillas are mostly herbivores,

and I am a proud carnivore.

 Gorillas tend to be social,

and live in groups.

Some rogue males can live alone,

but like bachelors, they search

for companionship.

I have always struggled

with anger management,

being capable of being beastual.

My gorilla cousins, although

very powerful, are basically shy

and reserved--probably a result

of vegetarianism. Silverback

leaders will fight to the death

to protect the group, as will females

to protect their young.

We share that primal trait.

A gorilla’s life span is 28-40  years.

Ours, thank God, is usually twice that.

I might make it to 100.

I read about a Silverback

that made it to 56.

I certainly see myself

in some great ape behaviors.,

and I’m not ashamed of it.

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over at d'Verse Poet's Pub


Brendan said...

A good totem. I can almost see a silverback with a 10 gallon hat and mouthful of chaw reading "Blackthorne" ... Yet I'd love to see the silverbacks live as long as we do and humanity live as long as they presently exist -- there's a balance rightened ...

Sanaa Rizvi said...

My goodness! A most majestic poem written, Glenn! I especially love; "Silverback leaders will fight to the death to protect the group, as will females to protect their young. We share that primal trait."πŸ’πŸ’

Kerfe said...

A wonderful reversal of the usual hierarchy. Indeed, far superior in behavior to humans.

robkistner said...

Great read bro! Humankind has never, and sadly, may never learn to live in balance with mother earth. Our ability to think is part blessing part curse. We have never mastered the skill effectively.

judydykstrabrown.com said...

So heartbreaking that they are endangered. So close to mankind. And mankind so close to being endangered themselves.

Kim M. Russell said...

Like Brendan, I envisaged a silverback with a cowboy hat reading from ‘Blackthorn’! I too would love to see silverbacks. I remember the first time I read Gorillas in the Mist, I wanted to jump on a plane and join Dian Fossey. I love the quote from H.L. Mencken, which complements your poem; the way you dive straight in with the opening stanza, so the reader gets exactly what you’re writing about; the shift from factual to personal in the line ‘Often I feel more ape than humanoid’, albeit it ‘puny’ and then back again in the comparison. And there’s nothing to be ashamed of, Glenn. 😊

Ingrid said...

I'm glad you're not ashamed of your affinity with the Apes, Glenn! We could all learn much from our animal counterparts, and perhaps avoid ecological disaster.

Susan said...

A viewpoint so well made. Your title is exceptionally complimentary to your theme!
You are 'becoming' to those traits you admire in a silverback. (Your anger is likely expressed in a more puffed up showy way just like theirs.) A fine spirit animal, indeed.

brudberg said...

I think we have a lot more to learn from the apes than we ever can teach them.