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

Friday, 23 December 2016

Lost Species poem 8: Lindsay MacGregor

There are quite a few poems still to come, so I will be posting them into January (punctuated on occasion by other posts). I'm so pleased so many of you have responded.

Today's poem steps out of the waters of the expected, with a sideways look at a species long gone. Thank you, Lindsay.

Association of Women Clerks and Secretaries (AWCS)

Those chocolate-throated queens of cigarettes and ginger wine
were often bought by men with brittle flowers for buttonholes
who tipped their soft fedoras.

No two were alike
despite the fine painted lines, their insistence
on outcrops and ledges, the diets of fish,

their refusal to nest.
Many were clubbed till they loosened their feathers,
flightless, ready for death.

They could never have flourished
in Arctic conditions.
They’d be taken for witches. 

Now, addled in shallows of bureaux
and tightly-lipped drawers,
they follow the wake of the garefowl.

© Lindsay MacGregor

Note: a garefowl is a great auk.
The last great auk was killed in 1844. The very sad story of its demise is on the Smithsonian webpage:

The poem is from The Weepers, 2015, Calder Wood Press.

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