Daily Archives: September 21, 2022

Of Plastic and Plasticity

         

   Of Plastic and Plasticity

.

Peering out over open water: green wash,

No spot of black to mark a seal, nor sight

Of white to indicate ice upon which to strike,

The bear turns about, towards dry land,

And trundles away from the shore,

.

Following a novel scent, not so sure

To signify a meal, but more appealing 

Than sterile saline. The stench of humans

Almost overpowers hunger, pull of putrefaction,

.

But cautiously the bear pads across scraped

Gravel and strands of soft stuff –not snow – and

Colourful lumps, shiny hard strips and bits.

.

A sharp set of claws upturns tins and other

Things the bear has never seen, and finds skin,

Bones and shreds of flesh of prey never tasted:

Not even raw; changed in a way it can’t fathom.

.

Other animals abound – gulls and foxes and

Neighbour bears. But she fights for her share

Of the spread-out spoils of some unknown

Carnage, scavenging scraps of flesh amid debris,

Some of which is stuck with string, some

Clinging to wrappers – has to be eaten also –

But are surely shed easily enough 

As would be ingested seal skin and bone.

.

Some men with glasses from a far observe

The animal with consternation, as it with

Relish ingests the refuse: Earth’s greatest

Quadruped predator reduced to such. But 

Others shrug at suggestions of contamination,

.

Considering the data and the sea state – 

Since even artic snow and summer rain contain

The same chemicals as the landfill, and

The seals are a dish equally intoxicating

From fish swimming in poisoned brine.

.

What use, they wonder, a pristine scene

Without seals within reach of a beach,

Other than to produce a perfectly clean

Bear carcass: healthy except for hunger?

.

The bear, on the other hand, now on land,

Is pulled by the wind past the dump, to 

More varied carrion. Carcasses lie in woods:

.

Caribou, moose, deer and musk oxen;

Moving, the quarry could become new prey

Replacing seals, if bears become plastic enough.

.

The pinipeds themselves, if they are to survive,

Shall someday have to haul up on a shore to pup;

Walrus, too, must beach for calves to breach.

.

Eventually, perhaps, an adaptation to such crap

From our waste, awash in any water, solid or not,

They encounter, can give a chance for all species

To scarcely subsist somehow in a new balance.

But such hopes fast melt in plasticity’s absence.

.

Not the most up-beat of poems, but in some way a tiny bit optimistic for the predator if not species of large mammal facing the most precarious future of us all….