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

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Lost Species poem 4: Andie Lewenstein

Andie wrote the first draft of this poem on one of my co-tutored retreat weeks on the Isle of Iona, many years ago now. I have never forgotten it, and can barely read it without weeping (especially since I live in foxhunting territory and watch the local foxes on a regular basis; they start hunting the cubs in September, when the cubs are just a few months old). Actually, there's no 'barely' about it: I can't read it without weeping, ever.

I requested this poem, as my range in this month's blogposts is not only the extinct or going-extinct species but also those we persecute. Thank you, Andie.


And god said let there be fox cub
The colour of warm, dry sand.
Let him have a beard of white swansdown
And in his mouth the knowledge of milk trust.
Let his nose go into the truth of things.
May it find me in the nest of a green meadow
Under golden tongues of dandelion in full flowering,
The sweet and the stink of them.

May he be satisfied with fowl flesh
Warm in his mouth, the living blood of it
A taste of my substance alive and running in him.
May he grow in cunning,
Keen as the hunger in his belly.
It is my hunger.
May he be satisfied with good things.

Let him run like an arrow from the red hunter
And when the hour comes, if it must come,
That he is torn from himself,
His heart thrown to the dogs,
Let him hear close by, and closer still,
The sound of his name sung from the breast,
And the last word be mine: beloved.

© Andie Lewenstein

If you've a poem for lost, endangered or persecuted species that you'd be happy to send for my consideration to share on this blog, please do contact me.


  1. Hi Roselle,

    I'd like to contact you with a poem you might want to consider for this lovely blog. How can I get in touch?



    1. Hello Matt

      Just checked you out on Fb and see you've a fine-looking book out - birdwatcher as well as poet (me too!).

      So have sent you a friend request, and will then send you my email address. Thank you for getting in touch; look forward to the poem.

      All best


  2. Yes - I cried too. The other evening I heard a noise in my study and went in to investigate. There, up against the window, was a young fox completely unfazed by my having turned on the light. We looked at each other for a long minute and then he ducked down and went away. He must have been standing in a plant tub which is balanced on another upside down tub outside the window - it's right next to a bird feeder so I think I know what attracted him :-) It was a magical moment - one of those moments you wish would never end, when you truly make a connection with some wild thing, be it animal or sunset or raging sea. Please keep these lovely, sad poems coming.

  3. Oh Angie what a wonderful (long) moment. Thank you so much for adding to this with your words, and I'll tell Andie.

    Yes, more poems to come! (Am almost thinking anthology, with any income to go to animal charity. Next year – in all my free time – haha!)


  4. What an absolutely wonderful poem this is. Thank you, thank you. Harry Owen

  5. Thank you very much on Andie's behalf, Harry. Just about to check your link out.


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