Rochelle Owens: 'Beloved the Aardvark'

A new poem with author's comments

The letters horizontal

or vertical  f l o a t  before

your eyes 


a black line shapes itself

spells out the first noun in

an english dictionary


with a forefinger and thumb

spells out  A a r d v a r k 

an animal from Africa


body of data  data of body 

rabbitlike ears  a long cylindrical



the tail of a kangaroo 

nocturnal  burrowing  a member 

of the mammalian order


made of the parts

of different animals  lay your hand

feel the bones under the skin       




The universe contains

everything that exists  letters

that spell out


r u i  n s c a p e 


end to end long strings

of words blinking in and out

as the universe contracts 


e x p a n d s


across the twenty-first century 

mounds of sand  appear 



always the Aardvark moves

in circles  moves in circles

in the here and now                                                                                                         2       


swaying side to side 

massive the claws digging 



work is a binding obligation

a jaw opens and closes





On a computer screen

reflections of water  metal  glass

bouncing radio waves


black lines form letters 

precise  methodical  long strings

of words  vertical/horizontal 


words detached from

the course of events  planned

or spontaneous patterns 


spirals of wind and fire

zigzags of black and white lines 

layers of brown dust


biomorphic  geomorphic 

polymorphic  slashes  slashes

of solar light


earth  air  fire  water


motionless the Aardvark

stands  listening  blood in

blood out




Press button to see

Science and Art of creating

archetypal scenes


come into being

long ago  an hour ago

only a minute                                                                                                                   3    


known and unknown shapes

the flesh of the apple  the dome

of a human skull


a mushroom cloud


each successive image

signs and wonders  earth  air 

fire  water


motionless the Aardvark

stands listening  blood in 

blood out




Press button to see

a bucolic setting  grape vines 

olive groves 


fields of sunflowers  

white the summer blossoms

a wedding party


the bride and groom  pale

and red his lips  her breast vein

as thick as a finger


out of his mouth

protrudes his tongue  cinnamon cumin 

honey and salt 


lines of insects appear 

disappear  tendons and nerves



a flow of hormonal forces

blood in  blood out  the universe



e x p a n d i n g


an outline shapes itself

playful the unborn babe in its

amniotic sac                                                                                                                     4                                                                                                                        




Always the Aardvark

moves in circles  moves in circles

in the here and now


earth  air  fire  water


moves in circles  swaying

side to side  rhythmic the blood

the months in a year


disease  famine  torture  war


mounds of sand appear  disappear


massive the claws

digging  searching  long ago 

an hour ago


only a minute




On a warm day in spring 

a woman plays a harpsichord 

the lid painted with scenes


of mythological animals 

known and unknown shapes

nocturnal  solitary


black zigzags

appear  disappear  motionless 

the Aardvark stands


listening  a jaw opens

and closes  audible  inaudible 

the sound of the predator 


lay your hand

feel the bones under the skin




Author’s comment: “To look at the image of an Aardvark is to take a cosmic Rorschach test, and like a cubist mural is both a microcosm and macrocosm. You understand Intuitively — a Cartesian resolution of body and spirit. The poem presented here is the first of a series of poems titled ‘Beloved the Aardvark,’ related I suppose to the poem ‘Devour Not the Elephant’ that appeared earlier in Poems and Poetics.” — Rochelle Owens