About Bats: The Chiroptera Sonnets by Paul Brookes

brown bat

photo by James Wainscoat (unsplash)

  1. The Alcathoe

Home high in splits, cracks and loose tree bark,
near water. I hear it in two ways. Crash
of tumble. Soft echo in our Hunting Dark.
Trees are Hardnesses in our flying Dash.

I may swarm He may chase me. We may
retreat to Darker and make young. Suckles
in my pouch. Then let it hang, while away
I skim leaves, snatch prey mid flight, food rustle

crunchy backed echoes, always hunt echoes
back. Amongst others know it’s cry and smell.
I hold it in my wings, soon its own wings
will learn flight in the Dark, it’s ears know well

a landscape of returning sound, nose scent
of prey, weathered woods, know home’s high ascent.

2. On Mexican Free-Tailed 1/3

To feed my baby I hunt from Lightdark
to Darklight. I remember its making.
He slowly, comes on grabs Her at the start
always by ear, the jaw, or neck, pulling
Her out of our crowd, moves onto Her back
biting scruff of Her neck. Holds Her. She yanks
away , He chirps faintly. She squeaks. Now back
with us Her face wounds bleed. She is pregnant.

He moves slowly onto my back, His ears
held low and eyes closed.. No neck-biting or
calls. I do not resist;  I groom myself, my ears
or sleep. Cold Time comes so we fly to Warm.

I give birth clinging upside down to stark
Dark thumbs and feet grasp. It wont fall to Dark.

Mexican Free-Tailed 2/3 Suckling
My baby is born naked, eyes open.
I carefully clean and nurse it. New-born
attached to me by thread. It'll be eaten
if it falls Below by hard scuttlers brawn.
I won't rescue it. We learn each other's
scent and voice before we separate. I
pull away to dislodge Bloodsac, unmother.
When dried it falls off child . Tenacious my
young use large feet and thumbs to hold on to 
Hard. It's tiny sharp teeth cling to mothers
or others. I put it among young, who
squeak, jostle, and crawl over each other.
After Hunt, find its call, muzzle top of it's head,
sniff, talk, raise my folded wing. It's breastfed.

A Mexican Free-Tailed 3/3 First Flight
I avoid several mid-air crashes
a breath. Rely on my untested guide
senses. Break my wings, get Belowed bashes
I'll be swarmed, stripped to bone in a breath's Wide.
First time I flew outside with our swarm, told
to watch for feathered claws that lie in wait
I found my first winged hard case, snatched by bold
one who jammed my echo. Learnt my mistake.
When Cold Time arrives we will fly to Warm. 
Gather outside entry to our Dark Home.
We will rise upwards, our gust makers form 
shapes in air in flight to our second Home.
We must rest and hang the journey, refresh. 
Mother says new home's food is tasty, fresh.

3. Barbastelle

All our food have ears, so we must use stealth.
They hear our echoes, make their own so we
hear theirs and think it ours. We must change depth
of our echo so they cannot hear. Free

to hunt, until they find new ways to stop
us. In flight I glean water as I skim
it, flit quick, echo up at Tallness top.
New echo works. Food is no longer thin.

Dark colder sooner. In Long Cold we must
enter Slow Time. Heart to few from many
beats, gathered together in Hard Dark roost.
All flitterers we ate feed our bellies.

Come Long Warm this heart will beat quicker, these
wings unfold hungry for flight and release.

4. The Golden-Crowned Flying Fox

I restrain Her from behind, bite Her neck. 
I approach Her, lick Her. She rejects me. 
I lick myself. Scratch my head, lick, flex 
my wing. Flap it. Flap it. Fan my body. 

It's too hot. As newborn my mother groomed 
me while she breastfed me. I lick my friend. 
We mock-bite, mock-wrestle. Recall she bloomed. 
Her wings shaking, Her chasing, biting ends, 

she rejects me. I hang sometimes by 
one foot, sometimes two, eyes open I stare 
around. I shake my wings, chase, bite, defy. 
Rub my neck or shoulder along branch share 

what's mine. Widely open my wings. Sleep, eyes 
closed wings around myself. Wake to more tries

5. A Bechstein's

I can smell the Tallness Tapper in Dark 
of its abandoned home. Come Dark outside 
I glean leaves to find food. Once our wings marked 
length, breadth of ancient Tallness in our glide.

It is ever less, and so are we. Shear 
beak carved out this roost in living Tallness 
beside water. Temporary home here 
we females move from Tall to Tall Darkness. 

beside water. Temporary home here 
we females move from Tall to Tall Darkness. 
He stays out there, sometimes on His own. We 
huddle together for warmth in Long Cold. 

When we swarm to find Him,to make babies. 
We make the New and listen to the Old. 
I hear the living Tallnesses tale tell 
amongst themselves about who stands who fell. 

6. Honduran White Bat

Briefly stay in many leaf homes we make.
First our teeth cut holes on leaf underside,
our feet and thumbs grab hold, our thumbs pull, take
it downwards, break some leaf fibers, decide

to abandon it. Continue others.
I and three more stay with Him in one, two
Long Darknesses, then move to another.
I cut and reshape other homes. Blown through

by gust or damaged by heavy rain I
abandon. He Often grooms himself, cuts
no work on our homes. Some groom and work. My
baby play shapes a broken leaf. Such

sharpen their making skills, use mouth and thumb.
Soon they will be shaping their own homespun.

7. The Ghost Bat

I see feathered ones silhouette against
Lightdark .It's chatter distinctive. In the 
Hollow Darkness I eat its head first. Wrenched
feet and wings pile up underneath me.
I brought it to ground, my thumb claws held 
it down, my wings enveloped it, my teeth
bit its neck, until it's squawk and flap stilled.
I suckled at mother's teat till my teeth
grew sharp. Sat and waited for prey with her.
She taught me how to call, hear their echoes.
Their croak and slither, skitter and flitter.
Told me invisible barbs, no one knows
when or how they appear will shred our wings 
no matter how we struggle against things

8. Brown Long-Eared

At rest I tuck my ears under my wings, 
or curl them back. I fly low and slow, 
hear their flutter, I follow tight stalling 
turns, my nose makes sounds returned as echo

heard by my ears, almost as big as me. 
I hover glean leaves, as I get closer 
whisper pulses echo a buzz. I see 
their uneatable wings that I'll render

onto waste piles underneath where I feast. 
Before Long Cold Her and I make a child. 
Then both of us will Slow Time, do the least. 
Start of Long Warm She births a nipple thrived. 

Holds to her and her milk while she hunts Dark. 
Her rich sup will bring it up to see its mark. 

Wolfpack Contributor: Paul Brookes

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The Insect Sonnets by Paul Brookes

Introducing the Marine Sonnets by Paul Brookes

The Unresolveables (An Heroic Crown Sonnet Sequence) by Paul Brookes at (sonnets 1-15)

Anthology Post: Finding a Wonderland in Alice by Paul Brookes (poetry)

3 Poems by Paul Brookes in Fevers of the Mind: Her Fiftieth, Her Fur Elise, A Black Bead

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1


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