Extinction

for Paul Shepard

By ILCW Member Elizabeth Herron (USA)

Even cold erodes, and the ice
that held itself in glacial cleaving
grows eager to lie down in the sea
where the great bears will finally sleep, sliding quietly into the depths.
Their bones roll the bottom
in layers of darkness. What is left
besides light descending
into blue shadows, the billowing
curtains of salt, the slow heft of the sea?
How can we let what is lost
settle of its own sacred weight
into the secret grief, the emptiness
we mistake for something missing
in ourselves?

Elizabeth Herron’s poem was previously published in: Canary
A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisi
Canary is a literary journal that explores one’s engagement with the natural world. It is based on the premise that the literary arts can provide an understanding that humans are part of an integrated system. Their theme is the environmental crisis and the losses of species and habitat as a result of this ongoing disaster. Their mission is to deepen awareness of the environment and enrich the well-being of the individual and in turn society as a whole.

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