Monkey Meets An Anarchist Ant
(Memories of El Camino de Santiago)
The anarchist ant dresses in black.
He wears a little red base-ball cap
backwards on his head.
His eyes are fiery coals.
“Phooey!” He says.
“It’s folly to go with the flow.”
So he turns his back
on his companions and marches
in the other direction.
Some ants call him a fool.
The Ant Police try to turn him.
The Thought Police try
to make him change his mind.
Others, in blind obedience
to a thwarted, intolerant authority,
first bully him, then beat him,
then bite him till he’s dead.
Comment: One of the legends of the Road to St. James, the pilgrim route across Northern Spain that I walked in 1979, states that if you do not walk the road as a human being, in your own lifetime, you will come back as an ant and be forced to walk it ant form, when you are dead. I stood on the hill outside Astorga, looking back at the city. On the old pilgrim road, at my feet, and beneath the old Cruz de Harapos, a colony of ants was busy walking in a long line towards Santiago de Compostela. One turned his back on the group and started to walk the other way, but he didn’t last long. “Go to the ant, thou sluggard.” Fair enough. But watch out for the ant-police and the thought-police.