by Sylvia Plath

The groundhog on the mountain did not run But fatly scuttled into the splayed fern And faced me, back to a ledge of dirt, to rattle Her sallow rodent teeth like castanets Against my leaning down, would not exchange For that wary clatter sound or gesture Of love : claws braced, at bay, my currency not hers. Such meetings never occur in marchen Where love-met groundhogs love one in return, Where straight talk is the rule, whether warm or hostile, Which no gruff animal misinterprets. From what grace am I fallen. Tongues are strange, Signs say nothing. The falcon who spoke clear To Canacee cries gibberish to coarsened ears.