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Tuesday, November 07, 2023


by Cecil Morris

Bureau of Land Management wildlife technician photographed William ShakespEAR, a female Townsend's big-eared bat, in Jackson County. William ShakespEAR won BLM's 2023 Bat Beauty Contest. Photo courtesy Emma Busk / Bureau of Land Management via Oregon Public Broadcasting.

William ShakespEAR—right, not the poet-actor-
playwright who, maybe, made your high school English
class a drag, but a Townsend’s big-eared bat—won
the National Bat Beauty Contest this Halloween
and brought his bouquet of mosquitoes and moths
home to Ashland in southern Oregon, home
of a pretty famous Shakespeare Festival
where, I must admit, I was not bothered by
any flying insects during an evening
performance of Romeo and Juliet
in the outdoor theater. So good on you,
William ShakepEAR. Perhaps you can bring back
glamour to big ears, which would benefit
me, a man almost 70, with thinning hair
and elongating ears (think King Charles III
or the pendulous lobes of Nicole Kidman).
I do not want to be Dumbo with a flat
tire, Dumbo depressed, or Alfred E. Neuman
deflated. Of course, you, Mr. ShakespEAR
have perky, pricked up, Doberman-like ears,
and I am sure no one makes fun of you.
Too bad Bat Week has not had the success
of Shark Week. We need a Spielberg thriller
with blood and menace: EARS. Who’s listening now?

Cecil Morris taught high school English for 37 years. Now retired, he spends his time writing poems and shaking his head at the news. He has poems in or forthcoming from Cimarron ReviewHole in the Head ReviewThe New Verse NewsRust + MothSugar House ReviewWillawaw Journal, and other literary magazines.