This afternoon, my man and I re-watched Frozen Planet, one of my favourite documentaries which examines nature at the poles. When the time came to focus in on the life of the polar bear, I shivered with excitement, and the goosebumps on my forearms bobbed up.
The only predator the polar bear knows stands on two feet. This poem is a look to the future, when we, as a human race, have driven the great bear of the north to extinction.
The Bear Of The North Is Gone
Gone is Ursus Maritimus, Sea Bear,
Isbjorn, Lord of the Arctic,
White Bear, Ice Bear, Nanuq.
Gone is Seal’s Dread, Rider of Icebergs,
Whale’s Bane, Sailor of the Floe,
Tornassuk, White Sea Deer.
Gone is Bear of the North,
The Ever Wandering One.
In the Arctic, the ice is melting,
blurring like dirty glass giving way
to shimmering heat waves and
miles of open water.
The skinny Arctic fox waits,
flag ears erect. He looks for
that familiar silhouette
on the horizon.
He snaps at air to stop his jaws
Down wind, bodies of seals
quietly rot under an angry sun.
The Inuit have walked away
from their circle, past the tree line.
They have shed their parkas,
buried the words of their shaman,
shot their dogs while looking
in the other direction.
They are solid, tense and awkward
in the new world. Darkness oozes
into their open souls, sits on their
chests like blood gone bad.
Whales scream as they
battle for breathing space.
The air is sour in the arctic.
All life left there grows weaker.