The Iliad of peace began
when this girl agreed.
Now goats in trees, fish in the valley
suddenly feel vivid.
Swallows flit in the stable as if
a hatching of their kind,
turned human, cried in the manger
showing the hunger-diamond.
Cattle are content that this calf
must come in human form.
Spiders discern a water-walker.
Even humans will sense the lamb,
He who frees from the old poem
turtle-dove and snake,
who gets death forgiven
who puts the apple back.
Dogs, less enslaved but as starving
as the poorest human there,
crouch, agog at a crux of presence
remembered as a star.
– Les Murray, ‘Animal Nativity’, in Collected Poems (Melbourne: Black Inc., 2006), 374–75.