Posts tagged ‘extinction’

14/05/2013

Bachman’s Warbler

 

The light of neurones formed of gold.

The light of skies beneath the lakes.

The light of memories dying out.

The light of mourning fireflies.

 

Out there, before the war forgot

To purge its nightmares from our streets,

A weightless shimmering of blood

Had stopped to drip on southern crops.

 

Its song was shackled to its fate:

Its song of falling, song of light.

Its burned with topaz in the swamps:

A voice of sunlight through the night,

 

A drop of blood which stained its loss

On leaves and lives and crosses born.

 

 

05/04/2013

Slender Billed Curlew

 

1.  They Never Do

 

In times of plenty birds would fill

The steppe-lands with their songs of spring.

Their wild and wondrous calls and cries:

Beyond the earth, they kissed the skies.

 

In times of plenty forest swamps

Would swell migration paths with wings

Across the plains and over seas,

And no one saw them as they passed.

 

In times of plenty people gorged,

Their noses closer to their floors.

They fought their wars and built their roads.

Their eyes were shut, their ears were closed.

 

And bit by bit the calling stopped:

The spring would come, the songs would not.

 

 

2.  Just One More Shot, The Final Breath

 

Retreating further through the swamps

And pine and permafrosts, alone

The hunter carves his name in bark.

A curlew calls its final dawn.

 

This stand of stumps and frozen breath

Was chosen by the spring and stars.

This place, this time, this pointless task:

Unknowing breath of man, of bird.

 

It probes its beak through frozen crust,

Its left foot quivers, head pulls back.

These movements formed in ancient times:

The last this world will ever know.

 

The hunter picks his kill and leaves

A precious feather to the breeze.

 

 

3.    Spirit Birds of Amvrakikos Gulf

 

Along the shore where the egrets pick

A flock of shadow waders roost.

The echoes of their silent calls

Are heard as ghosts amongst the stars.

 

But if you look you’ll never see

Again the birds, or hear their calls –

And no-one ever really did.

Their phantoms hug the water’s edge.

 

Your eyes have seen the taiga’s ice.

Your eyes have seen the dismal swamp.

Your eyes have seen extinction’s wing.

The curlew’s calls are deep within.

 

Their souls migrate across the gulf:

The shadow birds have lost their way.

 

 

 

04/04/2013

Hawaiian Goose

 

A lava line around the neck,

Thrust from the seabed: drops of jet.

Their lonely births are fire and rock,

Are isolated slips of blood.

 

Those eyes: the brightest black on Earth –

Whose depths we fill with shallow hopes –

Inhuman, but within each one

A loss so great it is our own.

 

These islands we behold as birds –

Too far away, too bright to know –

Perceived as wondrous specks of light

Within the ocean blank of life.

 

They stare a question from our soul:

Are we alone or are we whole?

 

 

10/03/2013

Leighton Moss

 

1. The Ghosts

 

So nothing dies, it lingers on,

It sinks beneath the matted reeds,

It hovers on the winter air,

It wraps its roots around the oak.

 

A bear has whispered through the woods,

Its tundra paws are soft as moss.

We see it in our open hearts,

We call it from its long lost path.

 

A lynx is in the reed bed’s edge.

Its stories deep as morning mist,

We summon memories from its shade,

Its whiskers taste of vanished dawn.

 

The sedge and forest, lake and burn,

All echo with the drifts of death.

 

 

2. The Wood Well Oak

 

The time zones buckled, seasons bent,

The rings lay thick, then thin, then lost,

As moisture, snows and distant droughts,

Were channeled through its heart of wood.

 

It stood beside a woodland well,

With leaves of cloth and dreams of love.

The people circled round like rings,

They merged their hopes with form and place.

 

A hundred years it took to rot:

From deep within the fungus grew.

It fell, one April, in a storm:

But even then its Spring leaves bloomed,

 

The wood well oak became the land.

The circles stopped, the cycle rolled.

 

3. Reed Bed

 

The waters teem with life and death,

Electric fevers of the Spring,

They’ve waited for their time to come:

In sun and light they burst and fade.

 

The land is crawling, grasping air,

It gasps for rain and captures birds,

It lifts and folds its crystal tears.

The land is dust and rock and grave.

 

The reeds are caught between these worlds.

They play the air and call to land,

Their echo-verse is ages old,

They breathe the water’s swirling song.

 

Fragility – it marks this place –

Where life wells up, but leaves no trace.

 

 

4. Bittern Fire

 

The light explodes in neural fires,

And life – intense and candle bright –

Reflects its spark from reed to reed,

And smokeless burns from eye to eye.

 

Invisible, the bittern blends.

Within the reeds it bleeds its form,

Through willow stumps, to deepest sedge,

Where only beak and eye are sharp –

 

Are photon sharp, are stark as stars.

The final sight the frog will see:

A dart of light, a blade, an eye,

Then gone and gulped and nothing more.

 

The bittern merges with the sun.

The life is one, the reed bed home.

 

5. The Last of Winter (A Northern Song)

 

The winter-scattered waxwings pause

For breath in rowans, twilight peached,

And dusted with the northern lights,

Vermillion and yellow chrome.

 

A Kalevala dance of wings,

Of brambling orange, white and black,

Of fieldfare stories, flighting seas,

At night with redwings, sharp as snows.

 

And on the lake the goldeneye,

Which fledged the earth, now dives for ice.

It pulls the songs out of the pike,

Then pops and bobs and shivers wings.

 

The tundra sun is turning round.

The arctic calls: its losts are found.

 

 

6. Saplings at the Margins

 

Embraced by roots and twisted truths,

With molten magic coursing through,

The bursting stems and latent forms

Are whole and fragments, buds and bark.

 

Conducting sun and seeping earth,

The branches whip the sky and marsh.

The sap they suck from distant stars

Is swirled in centuries of growth.

 

A universe is wrapped in reeds:

A fecund, replicating world,

A place of bird song, frog song, birth,

An immanence of creaks and leaves.

 

The sedge and willow bend and bow:

A pen and flute within the flow.