from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Lost species poem 2: Rachael Clyne

This is another poem in response to my suggestion on Facebook about writing to commemorate lost species. Rachael takes a wide approach and, as with Kathleen Jones' poem last time, I find it very moving without its lapsing into sentimentality.

Remember the nameless ones
Who survived the kiss of glacier
The years of lean and those of plenty
Whose genes slipped through pogroms
Who turned right instead of left
Whose soft, quick tongues made jokes of fate
Whose fingers shaped scraps into latkes
Who clung to their traditions, their songlines
Their medicine plants, their kinship
With Grandmother Earth, Grandfather Sky.
Blessed are the vanished ones
Whose habitat became expendable
Whose lives were extinguished by indifference
Whose pelts, horn and other body parts
Were worth more to those
Whose backs, walls and libidos they adorn
Those creeping, flying, swimming, leaping ones
Whose raucous calls, gauzy wings,
Webbed toes and gaudy hues
Will not be heard or seen again.
Give thanks to the myriad scavengers
Who scuttle and hover; who devour matter
Whose unseen industry tidies away death
Who rag-pick life from a mountain of leavings
Whose ingenuity fashions answers from decay
Whose webs and threads spin shrouds
Blessed are the wanderers who leave no trace
Who huddle under flyovers, in rotten wood
Who eat from skips and tips and gutters
Who sup from the kindness of strangers
Who sleep nightly under the infinite.

© Rachael Clyne


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