Roland at Roncesvalles blew his tusk
That traced its descent from Hannibal’s elephants;
And by the Nile for Caesar’s lust,
Cleopatra embellished her elegance:
On her sleek withers’ carcanets encrust
Her slaves their salves, emollients, and musk.
And whose ears twitch to notice the flaws
Of dis- or honorable animal tethers?
Some alien sense of the sensuous severs
Expectancies and highlights the laws.
The girl on the balcony combs her feathers,
Crouches to coat her hide with lotion,
And paints red polish on her claws
As if a caress were a slashing motion.