Daniel Hinds: The Last Animal
The Last Animal
‘I will not live among the wild scenes of nature’
– Mary Shelley, The Last Man
When all the other animals are dead
The last primate stands on the shore
A steel fish net curled between his knuckles.
His toe claws the wet mush, leaving furrows
Like the rusted automated tractors churning
With the enduring determineless determination
Of the machine’s complex simplicity.
They will batter the earth as long as their batteries last.
He casts his net and collects the permanent bric-a-brac.
He does so from day into Byronic darkness.
He squirms the worm of his tongue into shells
And holds the spittled cockle to his ears.
There are no howling demons left to fear;
No gods to give black jackal or wicked panther godheads.
The black stripes of tigers consumed the white
And orange flame; gone as the need
For fireside, huddle, and cave.
And what lives are the oldest dead;
The plastic dinosaurs of the permanent amusement park
Further down the pier.
Beneath their outstretched moonlit sickle shapes
The only swallows are the bites of frost.
He pulls his final teeth. His bones will outlast
His hunger, and feed the invisible.
The new Adam, with nothing left to name.
About the Artist
Daniel Hinds won the Poetry Society’s Timothy Corsellis Young Critics Prize.
His poetry has been published by BBC Sounds, The London Magazine, Southword, The New European, and elsewhere.