May/June 2019 • Vol. XLI No. 3 Nature’s Nature |

Argus and Mole

Say, in your own words, what this proverb means to you: “Argus at home, a mole abroad”: Who can see what they see, with their pink- fleshy fingerlike snout- tendrils, who measure time dirt-thud by dirt-thud? The secret-going-under-us of the moles, with black- furred, skin-sealed, vestigial eyes, gouging through hard-yieldable clay: Hundreds of hindpart-eaten, still-squirming earthworms heaped in mole dens for winter. Leathery snouts and 22-tentacled stars of mole-nose. Like the hundred eyes on the peacock’s tail, how did they get there. Look under, look over, look after. Who watches Io when Argus’s eyes are all gone? The saying goes: Peacock, look to thy legs. The scrawn and wirescratch of them. Look back toward when they had unburied eyes. Io, io, I. Sel sel sel, Scots say, has half filled hell. Where sel means self. Mole, secret agent, watcher, star-tentacled underspy. The heifer chained in the olive grove, and the all-seer watching her. It is easier to watch a sack

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