Close Call - Saved By Amygdala

Rating: 5.0

I am not an overly religious man,
although the pope hails from adjoining fields.
Today, however, on the beach I ran.
Aerobic fitness such behaviour yields.

The tide was high, like every other week,
so Buckley's Hole was flooded to the top.
If one wades through - not for the shy or meek -
the tide brings sharks and other creatures to
face up to in the water, that's chest deep.
And not all clear, you step on hooks and bottles.
Perhaps on stonefish, and the local people say,
that ocean creatures sure can smell your fear,
well an environment like this can be quite devillish.


I saw no ripples or suspicious circling waves.
And things were calm, with seagulls all around.
It's usual, when my fellow swimmers thus behave,
things are benign, that's what I've regularly found.
And so it was, when I was re-emerging
to territory of the soft white sand,
I didn't know then that something was quietly lurking,
that from these parts of our island should be banned.

I had not come to demonstrate high jumping,
though any spectator could no doubt have been fooled.
And within seconds I could hear my 'drenals pumping,
using all the resource they had made and pooled.

A brown one, circa five foot ten in length
now had decided that I looked attractive.
I could see that much resolve and all my strength
would be re-tested now, high time to switch to active.
My Neo-Cortex, as one would suppose,
the thinking brain that man has so much pride in,
would handle any trouble that arose.
Two hemispheres and structures to confide in.

But that's not what decides things in a pinch.
There is a saviour that's on stand-by, ready.
It's called Amygdala, its size -approximate- a meagre inch.
Its histologic structure looks like pink confetti.

So this Amygdala takes care of us like mothers
could never hope to do for their spoiled brats.
The Neo-Cortex thinks but never even bothers
to get its duff out from cerebral batts.

But I digress, a purple haze descended
over my consciousness, as it assumed command.
While I would still have plans to quickly be amended,
Amygdala reconn-ed through sea and sand.

The bastard moved with full and raw determination,
he seemed to really take a fancy to me now.
They do like summer over boring hibernation
and get protective, mean and scary, here is how:
December is the hottest time Down Under,
and snakes like heat as much as we like sex,
so if occasion has it that you must meander
through snake-infested country in the sticks,
be sure your system is immune to reptile trance,
it happens when their stoic eyes lock on
and you become unable then to dance
away from danger - buddy, you are truly gone!

Be master of your destiny, my man!
Remember the temptation of Creation!
It's he who listens to the devil also ran
the real risk of sheer annihilation.

I ran, of course, as writing these things after
I'm dead and buried and forgotten by you all
would be hilarious and deserve some silly laughter.
But I survived 'cause my Amygdala has gall.

If someone tells you that a normal human being
can outperform all snakes on level ground.
That all it takes is just the simple will of fleeing,
those experts are the ones that can be found
in shallow graves of Africa and Asia,
Down Under and the big old USA.
Their book facts lead to terminal dysplasia
where Taipan and King Brown do have their say.

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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Patti Masterman 28 January 2009

This is a great story, and I have always had the deepest respect for snakes, even the ones that aren't lethal. Once I nearly stepped upon a snake, trying to warm himself one morning in the spring grass. My amygdala saved the day; just as my foot came down and I saw him; I moved it slightly to avoid putting my weight on him. The dog was just beside me and that way, the dog didn't notice him, didn't cause additional trouble- since I figured I was already in trouble enough! He played it so cool, Mr. Snake!

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