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Leroy Foxtrot Ant

Leroy Foxtrot wasn’t like the other ants he knew.
He felt that he was small and every day the feeling grew.
His home, the Powder Mountain, was the place he had been born.
And yet he felt displaced and that his loyalties were torn:

The other ants were happy; undertook their daily chores;
They built turrets on their castles in accordance with the laws;
They built staircases and atriums, and cradles for their babies,
And they always answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’. There was no room for ‘maybe’s’.

But ‘maybe’ was a word that kept on haunting Leroy’s mind.
The path of ants seemed boring, and so clearly defined.
They marched in single file and they always did their work.
And Leroy Foxtrot saw that if he stayed he’d go berserk.

So one full moon he crept away and left the Powder Mountain.
He packed some things to eat and filled his ab-flask from the fountain.
And while the other ants all slept he stole into the night.
The sky was clear and cloudless and festooned with silver light.

Leroy Foxtrot walked for hours through the speckled wood.
He didn’t know his way but his direction sense was good.
Finally he reached a lake and sat down on a log.
He could hear lake flies’ beating wings, the ‘ribbits’ of a frog.

He could hear woodlice crawling, and earwigs whispering.
And a voice that told him simply, “You can hear EVERYTHING!”
“Who is that!?” cried Leroy Foxtrot, panicked with alarm.
“Do not fear,” said the voice. “I do not mean you harm.

“Why have you come out here to this place beyond your home?
“It is dangerous in the wilderness and safe beneath your dome.”
“But I am not an ant,” said Leroy Foxtrot in the dark.
“I’ve got something in my belly like a noisy little spark.

“It tells me I am bigger than an ant, and super strong.
“I see myself as huge and grey. My nose is very long.
“I’ve got four legs and ears that are big as dragon’s wings.
“And even though I don’t, I can hear so many things.

“It sounds,” said the voice, with slow consideration,
“That, inside, you are an elephant – a marvellous creation.”
“But this is not unusual – every ant has this inside.
“But many ants are scared and think it’s something they should hide.

They think that it’s disloyal if they feel big and strong,
But they haven’t understood yet that this train of thought is wrong.
When you feel ‘Elephant’ ignite it with your spark.
And you can be a warrior; a bright light in the dark.

Now go on home, young warrior and be amongst your people.
Give them cause to shout your name in praise from every steeple.
And feed your spark with love and nurture. Bring it out to shine.
Your inner elephant will keep you safe. You will be fine.

And then the voice departed like a leaf into the sky.
And Leroy Foxtrot, joyous, had to have a little cry.
He knew that all would now be well and off for home he set.
He knew that, till the day he died, he would not need to fret.

And over many years Leroy’s spark grew big and bright.
He truly was a warrior of wisdom, strength and might.
And finally he died, very old and full of love.
He was remembered as the one who’d hear the message from above.

His tomb was decked with flower petals, shells and precious stones.
They placed him ‘neath a statue in the Hall of Royal Thrones.
Above the statue hung a plaque, directly overhead:
“Here lies a king of warriors: L F Ant,” it said.

© Simon Welsh Poetry 18th July 2010
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