Absence of Malice by Robert Jay Norton

To hate the cat’s indifference 
with its knowing mien or alleged sacredness, 
is to despise the sparrow that innocently shat 
upon your shiny new shoes
As well we should curse 
the rain laden cloud 
for the dampening of our day
Does the recovering blade 
of trodden grass cast 
tiny aspersions in our wake? 
Does the fly, mid-flee, plan its 
retribution past lethally intended swat?
No life, save man, can conceive 
Malice beyond playful mischief
Even the tawny lion, claws adrip 
breath hot upon your crushed throat, 
would bear you no ill regard 
though you sate its hunger.
Be it mewling kitten or mauling bear 
all walk a path girded by instinct 
yet free of mal intent or evil deed 
a purity of being more worthy 
of praise than loathing
The bad animal, deserving of our hate 
like the bad baby 
exists in equal measure
Hate is ours alone to bear, 
ours alone to embrace 
or misplace
Oh, to be merely indifferent 
with a nose raised in mock disdain 
and a haughty twitch of tail
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