Poem introduction

'Bats' Ultrasound' was the ancestor of a whole sequence of poems of mine called Translations from the Natural World. Bats live in a world of radar beyond our hearing and I wanted to get a sense of that ultrasound so the last six lines of this poem are in English, but they're in bat English.

Bats' Ultrasound

Bats' Ultrasound

Sleeping-bagged in a duplex wing
with fleas, in rock-cleft or building
radar bats are darkness in miniature,
their whole face one tufty crinkled ear
with weak eyes, fine teeth bared to sing.

Few are vampires. None flit through the mirror.
Where they flutter at evening's a queer
tonal hunting zone above highest C.
Insect prey at the peak of our hearing
drone re to their detailing tee:

ah, eyrie-ire, aero hour, eh?
O'er our ur-area (our era aye
ere your raw row) we air our array,
err, yaw, row wry - aura our orrery,
our eerie ü our ray, our arrow.


from New Collected Poems (Carcanet, 2003), copyright © Les Murray 2003, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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