Poem of the Day


Winter filled the rivers with bluewhite ice.
The currents swirled armless, depilated trees
downstream on rafts to sawmill cemeteries.
In the local diet, cheap whisky was a staple.
Men and women fell daily off the sidewalks.
The Inuit were in their time a proud people.

Northward great bears roared, stranded on floes.
Colonies of walrus and seal; penguin colonies
badly disguised as butlers. The goodness goes.
Likewise, southward, millions of humped bison,
blinded like popstars by the hair in their eyes,
blundered into bullets, made dead for no reason.

The tribes, north and south, who once fed on these
creatured, were also made dead or ashamed.
Certain animals turned into protected species.
Reservations were raised to protect once proud men.
Coins minted from minerals, paper notes from trees
kill us all, very slowly. Who can be blamed?

As children, you and I may have had some concept
of what existence was, how it might conclude.
Each of us had to be born of a father and mother,
always flawed in some fashion we could sense.
We, closer than most people are, must accept
we are flawed also. We are our own evidence.

The cycles have continued too many centuries:
collapse of the body, menopause of the mind.
We are constantly reborn, dismantled trees
rafted on currents to be reprocessed downriver.
When what will stop my eye seals your long lashes,
our time to be with each other will be over.

We start out as white slime, and end up ashes.

~Dom Moraes (Selected Poems, Penguin)


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