The preoccupation with the disconnect between man and our distant, ancestral history is one of the prominent themes of this book. In this poem, the image of the human hand possessing “a fierce, primeval strength” is significant in that it harkens back to the days when humans had not yet fully developed as a species and still remained intimately connected with other primates and, it may be argued, the natural world as a whole. There is a frustration in the image of the smashing of hands against stones, which underscores this tension between man and nature, this uncomfortable reminder that we are not as far removed from apes as we might wish to believe.
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NOTE: the problem of bushmeat poaching is severe in places where gorillas and chimpanzees live. The use of wire snares has become a constant danger. To learn more about it, please read Dr. Lucy Spelman's Quest blog which chronicles her time (2007 to 2009) working with mountain gorillas in Rwanda.
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