Eeda’s Monkey Aria

Patricia Sykes


Sings the preservation of her death

the recovery of her

from the Eocene’s Messel Pit

has become science’s opera

the palaeontologist bending over her

is a devoted tenor

smitten and tender as he forages in her

for clues to the hominid tree

naming her for his own small daughter, Ida

(Eeda in his melodic Norwegian lilt)

who matches the small monkey’s one year

of life

the primate’s fragile exposure

also the child’s

each breath a fossil in the making

Breathe in experience, Breathe out poetry*

everything learnt is brilliant or stupid

the mind insinuates itself

everywhere      like a muscle

prehensile as Eeda

and wildly a-metronomic

as it swings above chasms

whose game is perish

*Muriel Rukeyser

Patricia Sykes is a poet and librettist. Her works in collaboration with composer Liza Lim have been performed in Australia, Paris, Berlin, Moscow and the UK. She has published three collections and a chapbook. Her most recent poetry collection is The Abbotsford Mysteries (Spinifex Press, 2011). She lives in Melbourne.

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