Sunday, July 8, 2007

Hero Rats

In a PBS "Frontline World" aired June 27th, viewers was introduced to "Hero Rats". I found the show interesting enough the want to pass on to you:

For the past seven years, Bart Weetjens has been running a unique lab in Tanzania, where he trains rats to sniff out deadly unexploded land mines -- the legacy of countless bloody conflicts. Although dogs have traditionally been used to help humans detect mines, Weetjens realized that rats are lighter, cheaper to maintain and less susceptible to tropical disease. “I’ve always felt a very strong bonding with rodents,” he says.

In Hero Rats, FRONTLINE/World reporter Alexis Bloom accompanies Weetjens to work in Mozambique to watch his trained rodents in action. She also visits a school there that was cleared of land mines with the help of the rats, allowing the children to resume their education and play without fear of stepping on a mine. “They save human lives,” Weetjens says of the rats, "and, yes, they are heroes, actually."

The man behind the hero rats, Bart Weetjens, talks about some of the obstacles he faced in starting the project, the effect that the mere threat of mines can have on a community and the common misperception of rats. This story is an amazing one. I ended up watching the 10 minute video twice.

See video at:
Learn more at:

Now, here's some poems to stiff out:

'Start Anywhere' Sonnet

start anywhere...with the dust of dry creek
beds...or black volcanic sand...reeds that skirt
a oak's uppermost branches...some
spray of sea...a congregation of meteors...a
tangle of hungry winds...knots of gnats...herds
of hairy musks...fleeing the orange
in salmon's sheen at night...
dressed in antlers...eels most definitely...& flocks
of pink flamingo...hosts of preying wolves...under
an army of stars...or umbrella leaves...maybe
palms bent in a storm...where gales of the North
Sea...or tidepools in the hedges of
cities...or spores of fog quietly abates...
where human ghost still gather onto the prairie...
in another phenomena of concentrated immortality

Knocked Out Loaded

No one ever fell down so quietly.

Blue not wanting to be red. The smell of ripened fruit.
Beach grass tangledby the wind. Pretty pink pills in a
bottle. "I could have been a ballerina instead, "she
answers with remorse. The mirror looks to be on fire.
Hear the rattle of gravel. Should I stop here for a

bubbles of saliva on the tongue the slush of passionate
tides (a head carried in on a platter) recalling that birds
are so little bother considering their vast numbers and
how much the color yellow regrets it has so little green...

Poems first appeared online at:
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