Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Poem for the Polar Bears

Well, after receiving the fabulous news that my poetry, including the Nene Poem, and one of my earlier essays called "Animality" from this blog are getting published in The Canary, a literary journal by Hip Pocket Press, I am finally feeling like my new career as an environmental artist is taking off. Strange how this milestone seems to make such a difference, after already publishing articles in journals and magazines.

Shameless Plug - Read my interview with the award winning directors of the upcoming Disney movie Earth at Got2BeGreen to find out how you can help the rainforest in Brazil.

Anyway, I love writing the environmental, journalistic style articles, but the creative works like my poems and essays are somehow different, somehow deeper. They take more of me and give more back, I guess. They are, after all, often the culmination of years of work and numerous drafts. Most have changed drastically from their youths into these adult versions, and finally seem old enough to leave home, to make their way out into the world. This must be what it feels like to send your child off to college.

I've been reluctant to share the poetry, feeling like an exposed nerve ending every time I put one out there in the world where I can no longer keep it safe. But, I guess it's time, and so in light of the situation the polar bears find themselves facing these days, I thought I would share my favorite of my most recent poetry series with you.

Polar Bear, (Ursus maritimus)

Transparent hairs soak ultra violet
rays through hallow shafts, transferring
heat into a black hide for her insulation
against the frozen mass she floats on.
Trapped by melting tundra, she lies
conserving energy, growing thin, adrift
on this burg on the midnight sea, no prey
to hunt, no seals who once denned
under the ice.

Deep groans belch up from the belly
of the ice. She wakes with a shifting
tremble, stands to peer over the ledge
at wakes rippling out from her perch.
Her white reflection blurs. Another
shudder staggers her, and boulder-size
ice breaks free to slide down the wet
mountain towards her. She leaps
over building waves, plunges
into the sea.

Swimming hard toward a shelf
once only a mile from here, sluggish
limbs fight the churning surf. The ice
burg behind her splits, half its giant mass
plummeting, raising a cresting
tidal wave that rolls towards her, over her,
pulling her under, spinning her thousand-pound
body like a drift of powdery snow. She peddles
once-powerful legs, each swipe slower,
never finding the surface she seeks
until at last she rises and floats
face down.

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