(Symphalangus syndactylus) is a tailless, arboreal, black furred gibbon
inhabits the forest remnants of Sumatra Island and the Malay Peninsula,
and is widely distributed from lowland forest to montane forest, even
a rainforest. Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park is the third largest
protected area (3,568 kmē) in Sumatra, of which approximately 2,570 kmē
remains under forest cover inhabit by 22,390 siamangs. The Siamang's melodious
choir singing breaks the forest's silence in the early morning. The largest
of the lesser apes, the Siamang can be twice the size of other gibbons,
reaching 1 m in height, and weighing up to 14 kg.
The Siamang eats at least 160 species of plants, from vines to woody plants.
It also eats flowers and a few animals, mostly insects. Although the Siamang
can live up to 30+ years, the illegal pet trade takes a toll on wild populations.
Poachers kill the mothers because mother Siamang are highly protective
of their infants. A major threat to the Siamang is habitat loss due to
plantation, forest fire, illegal logging, encroachment, and human development.
Palm oil plantations have removed large areas of the Siamang's habitat
in the last four decades. These and other illegal activities have devastated
their remaining tropical rainforest especially in Sumatra.
How does it feel to be
the object of relentless
and universal observation.
Wouldn't you rather
have your ugly moments
or, at least, some mediocre ones.
Aren't there times you wish
to escape the discerning,
the constant reaping of all eyes and thoughts.
Do you ever say,
"Just let me be myself,"
this place where audience ends and you begin.
Then I try to imagine a pristine lake
that longs to be swamp water,
a clear blue sky that dreams of cloud cover.
The best I can come up with
is a white tailed deer that wishes it was
a bull-frog when the hunters come.
John Grey is an Australian born poet, and US resident since
the late seventies who works as financial systems analyst. He has been
recently published in Slant, Briar Cliff Review and Albatross
with work upcoming in Poetry East, Cape Rock and REAL.