The Fellowship of the Sentients

Part 1. It's Personal

I shed a tear
At the sight of this pic
Two in fact
The love of my life beside me 
Shared it too
What was the anatomy 
Of this emotive response?
One tear was for the sentient
Reaching out the hand of help
To a fellow
The fellowship of the sentients
The other eye's tear
The shame I feel for these noble beings
From human ignoble acts

Tear one returns
What a beautiful thing
This selfless act, recognisable to humans
This concern enacted, instinctive
We do this too
We see a fellow in some kind of peril
We don't stand back, come forward
Hands outstretched, lending
Pull them back in, rescue as needed
We do it compelled by connection
Ties of empathy bound into a rope
Pull them out of danger
Retrieve them from harm's way
Indeed, not just for other humans
We don't withhold from animals either
When imperilled 
So many videos attest
Humans as #therescuers 
A good fit

Tear two returns
The cloud descends, enshrouds
Obscures, hides the truth
A bad history of harm
Killing and exploitation
Orangutans in their own home
Still relatively minor skirmishes
Compared to the clear-felling for oil
The oil of the Palm, most effective threat
Evicting them from their home forests
And if they then encroach back, conflict
How many helping hands diminished
Turned instead into hands reaching out
For help, for release from a cage
From a chain around the neck
Imprisoned ‘pet’, even if illegal
From this existential crisis
This is the critical juncture
Instead extend our hands to help
Be a part of #therescuers
Just in time to return the favour

Which is the stronger emotion
Which tear will prevail
Which is the tale
We will tell to our descendants 
Which is the favour
To her descendants
In kind returned acts

This story is in first person 
It’s personal
What can one person do
To ensure, even remotely 
The Fellowship of the Sentients
Is spread far and wide

Part 2. A Gesture to Remember - A Capture to Applaud 

A hand
We understand
Extended in concern
A gesture, a reaching out
A triumph
A spirit, a human-like spirit
Extended beyond our own
A tragedy, in original Greek
Indeed brought on ourselves
Perpetrated on another
For their loss and ours
Ultimately, the pice is paid by all
She watched, concerned
Saw the man in deep water, snake-infested
Though that's what we was there for
To clear these hazards
She couldn’t know
She surveyed him as he surveyed
Then, seeming stuck in the mud
She ambled into action
Sat down on the edge
Compelled, as we initially comprehend
Though some might ascribe different intent
Reached out her hand
Across the species divide
Only in our mind
Her extended hand rejected
The gulf still wild
Syrhul (he) explained, comprehensibly
For reasons of protocol
We will never know, but can surmise
Why Anil (she) stretched out her hand
To someone known, seemingly in trouble
Fate that wanted to be recorded, intervened…

A moment 
Come and gone
A memory for one or two
And one not the same
Would have been lost
But for the photographer's art
Sense of importance and timing
Light needed just right, in position
A capture
An instant
An incident 
Of such import
For all time recorded, digitised
A marvel, a wonder
A tear-jerking image, dichotomatic 
One for celebrating 
One for conscience cleansing
A memory etched
A vision stretched
For all time
A lesson, a reminder
Relegate the past 
Time to be kinder
Launch remedial action
While the two tears flow
A conscience pricked
A consciousness elevated 
A distance erased
A gulf bridged
A mind amazed
A sentience shared
A recognition
A fellowship

Photo by @Anil T. Prabhakar
From his 2020 article: ‘The Guard kept searching for snakes and cleaning the river banks, though he seemed to struggle moving his legs on the muddy floor of the river, as far as I could perceive. He kept trying to pull out his legs and move further, and suddenly the female Orangutan who quietly remained a spectator got up and moved closer and extended one of her hands towards the Guard as if she was lending assistance to get out of the mud. This might have lasted three or four minutes. I was really amazed at this unexpected, sweet gesture from the orangutan. I managed to fix my camera and capture this heartwarming, unique moment and could get four frames of the event. Unfortunately the guard declined her kind gesture and managed to move away…’ (later explained as protocol for interactions with Orangutans)

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