Thursday, January 09, 2003

Oolong the Rabbit Is No More

My many bunny-loving friends and relatives will be sorry to hear of the demise of Oolong, probably the most famous rabbit in Internet history. For years his human (I hesitate to say "owner") has been documenting Oolong's life in photographs on his website. These are really charming, and if you have Internet Explorer, you can put your cursor on the pictures and an English caption will pop up. (The site is in Japanese.)

Oolong was especially famed for his ability to balance things on his head, usually food. There are lots of photos of him with waffles, pancakes, and other goodies. I know it sounds strange, but it's clear from the pictures of Oolong and his person that they were very affectionate with each each other. The food play seems to have been consensual, so who am I to judge?

My best wishes to Oolong.

In his honor, and remembering all the pets that have died, I repost James Dickey's poem:

The Heaven of Animals

Here they are. The soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.

Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.

To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing, desperately
Outdoing what is required:
The richest wood,
The deepest field.

For some of these,
It could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done
But with claws and teeth grown perfect,

More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey

May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life,
Their reward: to walk

Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain.

At the cycle's center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.

James Dickey 1961

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