Bats, the flying mammals, are fascinating creatures that inhabit human folklore in mostly inaccurate fashion. Walking across the campus of Emmanuel College one day, I saw a crowd behind one of the buildings. A large colony of bats had made their home in the attic, which had been fumigated to drive the furry fliers out. They were flopping around on the ground, sick and dying. I scooped up as many as I could into a box and took them home, where some survived and some did not.
Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) wrote a short ode to the bat in 1878, and I found it on Behemoth, a website magazine about a big God and his big world.
The bat is dun, with wrinkled wings
Like fallow article,
And not a song pervades his lips,
Or none perceptible.
His small umbrella, quaintly halved,
Describing in the air
An arc alike inscrutable,—
Deputed from what firmament
Of what astute abode,
Empowered with what malevolence
To his adroit Creator
Ascribe no less the praise;
Beneficent, believe me,
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