Messenger "Resist any temptation to use the poem to make its readers like you, or admire you, or forgive you."

~ Ellen Bryant Voigt

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The Bat
by Ellen Bryant Voigt

Reading in bed, full of sentiment
for the mild evening and the children
asleep in adjacent rooms, hearing them
cry out now and then the brief reports
of sufficient imagination, and listening
at the same time compassionately
to the scrabble of claws, the fast treble
in the chimney—
                      then it was out,
not a trapped bird
beating at the seams of the ceiling,
but a bat lifting toward us, falling away.

Dominion over every living thing,
large brain, a choice of weapons—
Shuddering, in the lit hall
we swung repeatedly against
its rising secular face
until it fell; then
shoveled it into the yard for the cat
who shuttles easily between two worlds.