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

Monday, 12 December 2016

Lost Species poem 3: Victoria Field

Another in my 'Remembrance for Lost Species' blogposts, today from Victoria Field: a call-and-response poem from her book The Lost Boys (Waterloo 2013).

Thank you Victoria for contributing this fine piece.

Litany for the Animals
For anteaters and ants, Abdulali's Wrinkled Frog and Abe's Salamander
Let us pray to the Lord

For all the birds of the air, buffalo that once filled the plains

for bees and their dances, for blue butterflies of our childhoods

Let us invoke the Goddess

For cattle incarcerated in mega-dairies, for cows with udders scraping the ground,

for kind eyes of heifers and ebullience of bullocks

Let us beg for forgiveness

For dogs in their dogginess

wolves, coyotes, hyenas, hairless Mexican dogs, dogs on the streets with the homeless, dogs by the hearth, at our heels with hearts full of love

Let us give thanks and praise

For elephants with their graveyards and tears, tenderness and listening feet

Let us be reverent and learn

For foxes, encroaching on cities, in dens in the woods,

for foxes, running in terror from the hounds

for foxes, fat-brushed and burnished in the field at dawn

Let us acknowledge complexity

For the forty endangered species of Galapagos Land Snail -

bulimulus adelphus, bulimulus darwinii, bulimulus nux, bulimulus wolfi, et cetera

Let us wonder at Gaia

For wild horses, unshod, untamed, untethered, galloping over the moor

Let us stand in admiration and awe

For horses with bit, bridle and saddle, whip, jump and stable

Let us hang our heads in shame

For the ibex, ibis, impala, iguana and iguanodon

Let us stop being an ‘I’ and turn into ‘we’

For the jaguar alone in the empty forests of Guyana

Let us provide food and shelter

For the kangaroo, her pouch and her joey, her bounce and her boing

For the koala beloved of children, for the kith and kin of the animals

Let us smile unto the Lord

For the lionness and ladybird, the locust and limpet, for the lark and his joyful song

Let us sing … [sing] 'All you need is love .. All you need is love ... All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.'

For the Manx cat and maned wolf, mandrill and marsh deer

Let us revere the earth our mother, and all the mothers that gave us life

For the nuthatch in the garden

Let us see the miracle of small things

For the sight of an otter sliding slick as a shadow in the shallows of the rich river

Let us sigh an Oh! of wonder

For parakeets, parrots, peacocks, pelicans, penguins and peregrine falcons

Let us thank the Goddess for feathered beauty in all its forms

For rabbits, their reproductive vigour, their fluffy tails and soft noses

Let us learn gentleness

For the sixty five thousand animals in danger of extinction
Let us lament them, let us say, no, no, no, no …

For Tyrannosaurus Rex and all his brothers and sisters

Let us never forget

For unicorns and six-legged antelopes, Cheshire cats and dragons

Let us pay heed to our dreams

For the Variegated Spider Monkey, Venezuelan Wood-quail, Velvet Worm and

Visayan Warty Pig

Let us honour them by knowing their names

For the whales, the dolphins, all the cetaceans roaming our oceans, for those in captivity

Let us always choose freedom

For the thud and sudden end of extinction, for the last creature of its kind

Mother Earth, help us make new life

For you, you, you and you,

Let us celebrate the web of creation  [join hands]

For the zebra, zumbador, zebu and zho

Let us know endings are beginnings in the circle of life

and remember ant-eaters and ants, Abdulali's Wrinkled Frog and Abe's Salamander.

© Victoria Field 


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