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

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Lost Species 27: Gerald McEachern

At last, and from my time away on a little Atlantic speck-of-dust sacred island, here’s another post in my Lost Species series.

People have found the poems I’ve posted here both beautiful and moving, I think almost without exception, and I have also been accused of posting ‘safe’ poems, and it is true that there have been few poetic risk-takers among the fine poems contributed.

Truth is, I wasn’t looking for cleverness and postmodern fractured narratives – except inasmuch as the whole narrative is fractured now – or anything that would draw attention away from the subject matter; I wanted the poems to be crafted but not obtrusive; backgrounding the subject, if you like. Of course, that doesn’t mean the poems shouldn’t also wake us up, which was rather the point of my series.

This one breaks the mould, as they say, and upturns the usual take on extinction of species. I’ll leave it with you, except to say I’m glad to include something that you may have to read twice to catch the drift of its irony.

Thank you, Gerald McEachern, for shaking up a certain poetic complacency in me.

A long nap on the sea bed

We are Atlantis, eighty meters under the sea,
every tax return, every dish, every scribbled thought lost
for ever. We perish as we live, full of ourselves.
The methane is blooming and the coral reefs are dying.
The messenger tells me we’re off to Jurassic Park,
leaving all of this behind us at a rate of two hundred
species a day, but some say it’s less than one a day. OK…

So today, forty school teachers, nine doctors and nurses,
six law enforcement professionals, nine pastors and priests
and three foster parents were arrested—along with two
hundred and eighty-one others in a Canadian child
porn bust. And the cop who shot a woman in the head
eight times—for no good reason—just died of brain cancer.
There’s something for everyone under the sea.

© Gerald McEachern

Gerald McEachern is Canadian. His view is that 'truth, poetic or otherwise, is caught in peripheral vision, at the very edges of what we can see, not from that on which we're directly focussed. Specifically with respect to this poem, the problem, species loss, is not what it seems; the problem is us and what's lost within us as a species.'

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