The ups and downs of an 8 ft. neck
(of the giraffe!)
A giraffe’s circulation needs a hefty lot of push
to get a steady flow up to its brain,
and when it is returning, it mustn’t, with a rush,
tumble rapidly down-hill again.
But when he bends to get a drink,
or eat the grass, he needs to think
– so blood mustn’t flood his brain, and drown,
even though it’s easier travelling down,
(at the top of his neck a capillary-sink,
can absorb some fluid so the pressure wont cause rupture)
and now the difficult uphill route,
is back to the heart from the level of its foot.
BUT, if, when he’s drinking, a sound is heard
– a lion, a man, an elephant, or bird?
the giraffe must quickly raise its head,
– will gravity drain
the blood from it’s brain,
and make it faint? (then soon it would be dead,
if the sound were a lion that was ready to pounce);
so as that neck does a graceful see-saw,
the pressures are constantly not as before:
each artery and vein,
must change its work load once again.
the giraffe’s not dazed,
but I’m amazed
at all that occurs when that neck is raised,
to stop the pooling of blood in its toes,
when down those very tall limbs it goes,
those legs that are so thin and long
have a ‘space-suit’ skin that’s thick and strong.