Sunday, March 31, 2002

With the coming of coyotes to the Shenandoah, sheep farmers are turning to a variety of guard animals for protection. We use llamas. If sheep are a neglected subject in English verse, llamas are more so. Here, however, is an ecumenically "incorrect" poem on the subject by Hilaire Belloc:

The Llama is a wolly sort of fleecy hairy goat,
With an indolent expression and an undulating throat
Like an unsuccessful literary man.

And I know the place he lives in (or at least-- I think I do)
It is Ecuador, Brazil or Chile-- possibly Peru;
You must find it in the Atlas if you can.
The Llama of the Pampasses you never should confound
(In spite of a deceptive similarity of sound)
With the Llama who is Lord of Turkestan.
For the former is a beautiful and valuable beast,
But the latter is not lovable nor useful in the least;
And the Ruminant is preferable surely to the Priest
Who battens on the woful superstitions of the East,
The Mongol of the Monastery of Shan.

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