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….
my video of processionary caterpillars has just been requested for a BBC nature program – Nature’s Weirdest Events. It says series four, but since I haven’t watched the BBC in a few years I only heard of it now. I have had my videos linked to on newspapers before and a local TV station asked for footage of the deer births videos, but this is the big time! ha!
never know what will happen when you are observant out in the woods…
Was reminded of this the other day when listening to an onpointradio show about cats and dogs getting personhood…
It’s a topic I’ve thought about a bit in relation to my book on the sociology and future (or lack thereof) of hunting, which I hope to get back to later in the year…
Not quite the scientific method, though..
The Advantages of Anthropomorphism
Sometimes, if we would examine events
Could think of these things, from another’s
Point of view, and see all sides of situations,
Such things, which are now hard to understand,
Should be much more explicable…
Anthropomorphism is frowned upon, but why
Is the worm crawling across the asphalt?
In the same way that the squirrels have not forgotten
The location of their acorns, for they can afford
To ignore the extras as the winter thaws
And spring buds burst with sap, more appealing,
We could imagine we were the moths, wandering
Between raindrops with no moon, full or not,
To guide them past streetlights in the damp night
To what we know not – well, we all know what.
Will the earthworm drown upon the grass?
Is it trying to escape the rain? No. There is no
Escaping, nor a need, but instead it is taking
Advantage of the damp to strike out from its
Little patch of grass, in search of pastures new,
Be that soil or sex, past our artificial boundaries.