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Making Noises at the Zoo

The gibbons, swinging through their cage,

bark and thrum, but the children

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outbark them. As the silverback

gorilla leans his great head

on black knuckles, grave and silent,

several prancing children gibber and shrill

in front of him. A girl outcalls

the peacock, who falls silent.

In the reptile house, the children

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make all the noise. Only the lion,

in a mood to roar, shames them all,

his deep, resounding chuffs echoing

out beyond the elephants,

who pay no attention, swinging

their trunks - but the children do,

pausing, for once, to listen.