Monday, December 14, 2009

Tasmanian Tiger


We stop, hushed. The dusk air ripples

with a gentleness, for we see you, old man,

lying still in your black and white striped suit,

under an ancient moon, close to an ancient forest.


You hear our footsteps, smell our woman heat.

With inherent trust you raise

your huge grey-muzzled head, lips loose

over teeth that once tore heads from sheep.


You stand and stare at us.

We two wilderness wanderers ignore

our loaded cameras and say,

old man you won’t live another winter.

Soon, the forest will blanket you with its leaves.

Birds will sing your death and dance on your grave.

Their scarecrow legs will lattice you

in a farewell of love.

Insects will work your flesh and clean your bones.

You will never again hear the farmer’s gun.


We say, old man, we forget the reward;

and promise no human limbs will stretch to you,

no cage limbs will restrain you.

No voices will alarm you.

With haunches low, you trail your long tail, slow,

back to the Tasmanian forest that breathes

in its limbs mysteries of your ancestry

and incurable illness.


We wait. We do not follow.


(Prizewinner) Caroline Glen ©

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